Saturday, April 10, 2010

Loss of appetite (dementia caring).

Caring for an individual living with Alzheimer’s disease can be extremely challenging, particularly when the caregiver is trying to make sure that the individual is getting a healthy and nutritious diet.

Fairly often the individual loses interest in food. This may be in the early stages, often due to depression, or in the later stages when the person doesn’t realize they’re hungry or dehydrated. It is always recommended to go to their doctor if the absence of appetite is due to depression. This is very treatable and the appetite regularly returns once the depression has lifted. The person might also lose their appetite due to a sore mouth or poorly fitted dentures. Remember that regular mouth and dental care is important.

Loss of appetite could also be caused by the individual being inactive. Use gentle support to entice them into light physical activities like a walk around the neighborhood. Or help them gain an interest in a physical pastime like gardening. If the person has physical disabilities, you should ask their doctor what exercises might be beneficial. As Alzheimer’s disease develops into the later stages you might find that even if the patient is hungry, they don’t understand that they need to eat the food you’ve placed in front of them.

Remember to make gentle prompts to remind them to eat. They could find it beneficial if you eat with them. This could provide visible reminders of what to do and how. Some medicines that are prescribed for sufferers of Alzheimer’s disease can have an effect on the appetite. Their medicine can sometimes lead to bowel problems or a dry mouth. Do not forget to increase their liquid intake while ensuring that they’re receiving an acceptable amount of fiber in their diet. Damp foods such as sauces, gravy, and soups are far more beneficial in these circumstances. Coax the person to have a drink of juice or water while eating their meal. Sufferers of Alzheimer’s disease regularly experience problems with chewing and swallowing.

Watch out for them holding food in their mouths and coughing while trying to swallow. Attempt to offer foods that are simple to swallow and don’t require a lot of chewing. Cut back on foods where there’s a choking risk. If the inability to swallow begins having an impact on the diet, be sure to consult their physician. Employing a knife and fork may become troublesome because of the lack of co-ordination. The individual may begin feeling embarrassed and frustrated when they drop food. Try and offer finger foods to maintain their autonomy.

Some stores provide a delivery service, where orders can be placed by telephone or thru the web. This is a good method of guaranteeing a regular stock of fresh food and can help if time is limited or it is hard to get to the store while caring for the patient. There might be a charge for this service, so it’s best to ask first. You’ll notice that people that are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease have a change in their food preferences. Should their food preference become limited, there can be a danger that they aren’t receiving sufficient nutrients for a healthy diet. You may need to get recommendations from a dietician as food additions like protein improved drinks might have to be consumed.

Those with little appetite may not desire 3 large meals a day. If someone’s appetite is poor they’re not going to be seduced by large servings of food. Attempt to offer reasonable smaller portions and if consumed then offer further portions. Between mealtimes, offer healthy tasty snacks. You will also find that those with a smaller appetite favor their meals to be spread out into 5 or 6 small meals each day, instead of 3. The most important goal is finding what suits you both.

1 comment:

  1. Caring for a person suffering from dementia is a challenging role that encompasses many areas such how to recognise, understand and cope with this terrible illness.

    Dementia specialist