Loss of appetite is a common occurrence among those with Alzheimer’s. In fact, 40 percent of people with severe Alzheimer’s lose an unhealthy amount of weight. It can be due to a number of reasons including loss of taste and smell as well as medications that may be affecting their hunger level. With memory playing tricks on a brain under the spell of this disease, parents may simply forget to eat, or remember a meal they had yesterday as if it was today. Fortunately, those that have been in similar situations have come up with some interesting solutions.
Boston University performed a study that led to an interesting conclusion. They tested the amount of food people with advanced Alzheimer’s ate on both bright-red and white plates. Interestingly, those eating from the red plates ate 25 percent more food than those consuming from the white. While unclear what makes the definitive difference, contrasting colors may make it easier for Alzheimer’s patients, who often experience changes in their sight, to see their food. As an article in Boston University Arts & Sciences so succinctly put it, “If you couldn’t see your mashed potatoes, you probably wouldn’t eat them.”
Distraction & Routine.
A person with Alzheimer’s can easily become distracted and agitated. Routines help them feel a sense of stability in their ever-changing world. Arrange meals so that they occur at specific times each day and get to know what eating habits work for your parent. Some may be light grazers. For those that are, vegetables and dip, fruit and nut butters, chicken and fish kabobs, intermittently offered throughout the day in intervals of every three hours, may be the answer. Others may be comforted by regular meal times that occur at 8, 12 and 5. Find the schedule that works best for your parent and stick with it.
During meal time, be sure to reduce any background noise, ask company to leave any stress or distress at the door and ensure your loved one has a calm and relaxing environment to enjoy their meals in. Avoid stressing about the amount they are eating and allow them to slowly pick at their food. You’ll be surprised that, without time constraints, they end up eating larger portions than previously consumed.
When your parent does eat, make sure that it is nutrient-dense food. This means that a wallop is packed into a little bundle. Foods that fall into this category include avocado, whole cheese and dairy products, nuts and nut butters, and sweet potatoes. Whole grains such as quinoa, served with beans and your parent’s favorite stir-fried vegetables is a nutrient-packed meal. Finger-foods are also often easier for someone with advanced Alzheimer’s to eat.
Home Care Provider.
Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s can be both heartwarming and heart-wrenching. Taking time out to care for yourself is one of the necessities that ensures you can go the distance. Home care providers have worked with countless seniors facing this disease. They understand the various techniques to aid communication, including tips to help your parent keep their nutrition up to par. Most importantly, they provide professional companionship and care, leaving you comforted and able to relax, knowing that your parent is in good hands while you spend a few days recharging.
If you or an aging loved one are considering home care in Petaluma, CA, call At Your Service Home Care. Call today! (707) 573-1003
She became a discharge planner and immediately fell in love with the concept of home care and the autonomous clinical practice it affords nurses. Dr. Lucy was hooked and has been a strong supporter of home care ever since.Believing people need advocates in healthcare systems, she has championed that cause across the acute care and post-acute care setting.
Dr. Lucy has worked in every aspect of home care from Medicare Certified, DME, Infusion, Hospice and finally Private Duty/Private Pay services. She also works as a home care consultant across the country and as a legal nurse consultant for the home care industry.
Having worked in all areas of home care, Dr. Lucy has a well-rounded perspective of the challenges facing patients, families and the home care industry, and as a provider she advocates for patients through the maze of health care services. Dr. Lucy celebrated over 37 years as a nurse and patient advocate.
Dr. Lucy has a Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing from Lewis University, Romeoville, Illinois.In 1994, she received her Masters of Science in Health Service Administration from St. Mary's University, Moraga, California. Dr. Lucy received her Doctor of Nursing Practice awarded in 2016, graduating with Distinction and a 4.0 GPA.
She did her doctoral work on the global dementia crisis, aging and prevention strategies for healthy living. Developed dementia and Alzheimer's disease plans for aging patients leaving the hospital setting or entering long-term care or home health and hospice environments. She also developed a specialized program for those at risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
In 1992, Dr. Lucy was designated CAHSAH Certified Home Care Administrator in the inaugural offering of this designation through the California Association for Health Services at Home (CAHSAH).
She is the founder and CEO of Creative Solutions Home Care Consulting Services and At Your Service Nursing & Home Care, a concierge nursing & home care agency that provides the services she believes are essential for seniors to age in place.She offers a higher level of care allowing people to be in their own homes with an emphasis on independence, safety, and quality of life.
Dr. Lucy is the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) and sits on the Board of Directors for California Association for Health Services at Home (CAHSAH).
She has served on the boards for both state and national board associations, and is currently on the following boards and committees: Board of Directors, California State Association for Health Services at Home (CAHSAH), 2002-present, National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC's) Private Duty Home Care Association Director, and multiple state and national home care committees.
Dr. Lucy goes to Washington, DC, several times a year to advocate for senior services and home care issues. She was past Commissioner for the Sonoma Commission on Human Rights.She is past chair of the local Senior Advocacy Services.
Latest posts by Lucy Andrews DNP, RN, MS (see all)
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