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The Impact of Dementia on Senior Eating Habits

Some changes in eating habits are normal with age. However, seniors with dementia face an additional attack on the senses, confusing the signals their body is sending indicating hunger or fullness. For this reason, seniors may over or under eat, or may even forget to eat at all. The following are a few tips from Home Care Assistance of Columbus for how families can identify and help facilitate healthy and regular eating.

Signs of a Change in Eating Habits

Some seniors with dementia may unintentionally alter their eating habits. For this reason, it’s important to look for signs of a change in eating habits that may include:

  • Sudden weight loss or weight gain
  • Insistence on having another meal (even when it’s clear they already ate recently)
  • Refusal to eat for various reasons (i.e., reverting to long-held beliefs about not snacking between meals)

Eating Too Much

There’s really nothing wrong with an extra bowl of ice cream now and then or a second helping of a good meal. Overeating does, however, become an issue when a significant weight gain is noticed. Consider the following solutions:

  • Serve smaller portions
  • After-meal activities (to shift the focus away from food)
  • Prepare only enough food for each meal

Not Eating Enough

For caregivers who don’t live-in, it’s important to look for signs of not eating, such as prepared meals that aren’t eaten, a lack of dishes left in the sink or clear signs of weight loss. Consider the following tips to encourage eating:

  • Preparing a hearty breakfast (dementia patients tend to be more alert in the morning)
  • Preparing small snacks throughout the day (nutritional shakes, finger foods, etc.)
  • Hiring a professional Columbus hourly caregiver to ensure food is being eaten on regular basis

For more information about caring for a senior with dementia, reach out to Home Care Assistance Columbus today. Our experienced and compassionate caregivers provide comprehensive dementia and Alzheimer’s care in Columbus and can assist with a variety of daily activities including nutritious meal preparation, light housekeeping, mediation reminders and more. To speak with a Care Manager or to request a complimentary, in-home consultation, call 614-481-8888.