Planning Healthy Meals for Aging Adults with Alzheimer’s

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When devising meal plans for seniors with Alzheimer’s, it’s important to consider both their dietary needs and their mealtime difficulties. Certain foods may slow the progression of the disease. When seniors have poor appetites, caregivers may need to focus more on calorie content than on nutritional content. Ahead, learn about planning meals for seniors with Alzheimer’s.

The Importance of a Balanced Diet

Not eating enough healthy foods can exacerbate Alzheimer’s, weakening the body and the mind. Certain Alzheimer’s symptoms, including behavioral irregularities, may become more extreme when seniors don’t meet their recommended daily caloric intake. Ideally, your aging loved one’s diet should be balanced and filled with lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats, and you should limit his or her intake of cholesterol and saturated fat, which are found in butter and red meat. The refined sugar found in processed foods can also be detrimental to seniors with Alzheimer’s, and foods with high sodium content should be avoided as well.

Aging adults who need help managing mental and physical health issues can benefit from the assistance of a highly trained professional caregiver. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional senior care. Prescott, AZ, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.

The MIND Diet

For optimal brain health, seniors with Alzheimer’s should follow the MIND (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) diet. This dietary plan is specifically designed to stave off the cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. It includes foods that are known to boost brain health and limits the intake of foods known to damage brain health. The MIND diet recommends flavonoid-rich foods, such as strawberries and blackberries, as well as leafy green vegetables, as their high antioxidant content reduces oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain. Also recommended are nuts, beans, fish, and olive oil. Seniors are encouraged to avoid high-fat foods like cheese and fried foods.

Understanding Appetite

Ideally, seniors with Alzheimer’s would adopt the MIND diet or another balanced meal plan. In reality, many seniors face difficulties managing a limited appetite. If your loved one isn’t getting enough daily calories, try to figure out the cause of the problem. Some seniors stop eating because they can’t recognize the foods on their plate, while denture-wearing seniors may find eating painful. Inadequate exercise can make eating feel like a chore, and new medications can impact appetite as well. Many seniors also experience decreased sensory perception. When they can no longer taste or smell their food, eating is less enticing.

There are many reasons seniors might need assistance at home. Some may require regular mental stimulation due to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, while others might only need part-time assistance with exercise and basic household tasks. Home Care Assistance is a leading homecare provider. Families rely on our expertly trained caregivers to help their senior loved ones maintain a high quality of life.

Mealtime Modifications

There are ways to help seniors with low appetites eat sufficient amounts of food. First, you can try a few simple dinnertime modifications. For seniors who are easily distracted, serving meals in a quiet, relaxing environment can make eating easier. If your loved one has difficulties with visual perception, try using contrasting colors. If the food is dark or brightly colored, place it on a white plate to maximize contrast. To minimize visual confusion, avoid using patterned plates, cups, and place mats. You should also give your loved one plenty of time to eat, and you should recognize that he or she has food preferences.

If you’re the primary caregiver for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, you don’t have to go through it alone. Without the right assistance, Alzheimer’s can be challenging for seniors and their families to manage. If you’re looking for professional Alzheimer’s care, Prescott Home Care Assistance provides high-quality care aging adults and their families can count on. All of our hourly and live-in caregivers are trained to help seniors with Alzheimer’s live happier and healthier lives, and we also provide specialized dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care. For more information about our flexible, customizable home care plans, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at 928-771-0105.