Can You Keep Your Senior Eating in Late-stage Dementia?

January 17, 2020

The later stages of dementia might see a lot more changing for your elderly family member. If she’s still able to eat and willing to try, there are plenty of techniques you can use to keep that momentum going.


Keep Tabs on Your Senior’s Mouth

If your elderly family member can’t communicate with you, she won’t be able to tell you if her dentures aren’t fitting well or that her mouth hurts. It helps if you can keep up with what’s going on with her oral health on a regular basis. This can ensure that she’s still able to chew her food and get the nutrients that she needs. End-of-life care providers can help you with this and show you how to brush your senior’s teeth or take care of her dentures.


Make Sure Where She’s Eating Is Comfortable and Free of Distractions

Distractions, like loud noises and lots of people, can keep your senior from focusing on her food. It might even prevent her from eating completely. If possible, do what you can to make sure that where your senior eats is comfortable and as distraction-free as possible. This might be the kitchen table or her bedroom, but she needs to be able to feel as if she can eat peacefully.


Stick to Mealtime Routines

Routines are extremely important for people with dementia. Your senior may not seem to pay attention to the passage of time, but she does feel when it’s time for certain things to occur. Keeping mealtimes to a schedule can help your elderly family member to be more willing to eat when that time does come around. It’s also less confusing overall for her.


Help the Food to Be Obvious to Her

Lots of things might be confusing for your senior right now. Plates that “blend in” with her food can appear to her to be empty, which might keep her from eating as much as she might have. Making the food as obvious as possible helps a lot. Contrasting colors is the easiest way to do this. It’s also important that you don’t put too much food on the plate at one time. That can be intimidating and shut her appetite down.

It’s never easy knowing that your elderly family member is in the later stages of dementia, but helping her to continue doing what she’s willing to do, especially in terms of eating, can help.


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