How to Help Older Adults with Dementia Eat More Healthy Foods

By 8  am on

Maintaining a healthy diet becomes increasingly important with age, but some seniors develop health conditions that make this task more challenging. Seniors with dementia may experience changes in their eating habits for a variety of reasons. However, many of these symptoms can be addressed with the right approach. If your elderly loved one has dementia, here are a few tips to help him or her eat healthier. 

Stimulate the Appetite & Maintain Dental Hygiene

Proper nutrition is important for seniors with dementia, but it can be difficult to get them to eat the right foods. Simple exercise like walking or gardening can help your loved one regain his or her appetite. 

Your loved one may have stopped eating because he or she has difficulty identifying foods or has oral discomfort, and the dementia may have made it more challenging to express this. To combat this, serve foods your loved one is familiar with and take him or her in for regular dental checkups. Also, make sure all the food you serve is at a comfortable temperature. 

Professional caregivers with specialized experience in dementia care can be a wonderful source of support for older adults with the disease. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of home care service. You can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide an individualized care plan to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits, such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.

Simplify Mealtime

Serve meals with as little unnecessary ornamentation as possible so your loved one won’t be confused or distracted. Avoid elaborate table decorations, and make sure not to serve too many foods at once. Limiting distractions like television may keep your loved one focused on the meal, and it can also be helpful to make eating a social event because many people tend to eat better if they have company. 

Work with the Limitations of the Illness

As the dementia progresses, your loved one may have a challenging time using utensils and dishes. Serve foods in bowls instead of on plates, and provide large-handled spoons and forks if your parent has difficulty using traditional silverware. 

Finger foods are also a great option, and they’re not just limited to chicken nuggets or fish sticks. Healthy options like steamed broccoli, carrots, and fruit pieces can all easily be eaten by hand. 

Ensuring an aging loved one with dementia gets proper nutrition can be exhausting for family caregivers. If you’re the primary family caregiver for an elderly loved one and need additional assistance providing high-quality at-home care, Lincoln Home Care Assistance can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to changing the way seniors age.

Use Memory in Productive Ways

Many people with dementia begin to forget when they ate or what time of day it is. If your loved one always forgets having eaten breakfast and refuses to eat lunch or dinner at what he or she feels is the “wrong” time of day, don’t put up a fight. Instead, try serving a different breakfast food at each meal. Make sure to vary the options each time to make sure your parent is receiving balanced nutrition. 

Aging in place can present a few challenges for seniors living with dementia. However, they can still live independently at home with the help of professional dementia care. Lincoln families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide their elderly loved ones with mental and social stimulation, timely medication reminders, assistance with meal prep, and much more. Our caregivers are available around the clock to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life. If your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (916) 226-3737.


    Please prove you are human by selecting the heart.

    Request Free Information or
    Schedule a Free in-Home Consultation