The last thing most of us would forget to do is eat. Eating is social time, family time, and a time to enjoy our favorite foods. But for those with Alzheimer’s disease, forgetting to eat is normal. As cognitive function declines, those with dementia forget to eat and how to use spoons and forks. They can also become overwhelmed by food choices. When this happens, making sure those with Alzheimer disease consume regular, nutritious meals is a challenge for family members and long-term care providers.
Forgetfulness is just part of the problem. In the middle and late stages of Alzheimer’s, difficulties with swallowing can lead to choking, weight loss and ultimately malnutrition. So how can caregivers an individual with Alzheimer’s receives ensure proper nutrition? The Alzheimer’s Association offers these tips and we included some of our own:
- Prepare foods so they aren’t hard to chew or swallow.
The Alzheimer’s Association suggests that caregivers grind foods, cut them into bite-size pieces, or serve soft foods like applesauce, cottage cheese and scrambled eggs.
These are all great suggestions. Thrive suggests caregivers consider adding our nutritious ice cream to the menu as it delivers complete nutrition in each six-ounce serving. While cottage cheese and eggs are high in protein, Thrive has protein, natural fiber, 24 vitamins and minerals, four active probiotics, and is certified kosher, gluten free and low in lactose. And there’s no chewing required!
- Address a decreased appetite.
To combat decreased appetite, the Alheimer’s Association suggests serving favorite foods, increasing physical activity to boost feelings of hunger, and serving several small meals rather than three large ones. If the person’s appetite does not increase and/or he or she is losing weight, consult with the doctor.
Thrive Ice Cream is ideal for addressing decreased appetite. Caregivers will often turn to liquid supplements to help Alzheimer’s patients with little or no appetite. Yet these products are often medicinal tasting, which leads to noncompliance. Thrive Ice Cream is real ice cream, a favorite of people of all ages. Getting Alzheimer’s patients to eat it is easier than other foods. In a recent study, Thrive was proven to help at-risk seniors gain more weight than other supplements.
- Be alert for signs of choking.
Avoid foods that are difficult to chew thoroughly. Encourage the person to sit up straight with his or her head slightly forward. If the person’s head tilts backward, move it to a forward position. At the end of the meal, check the person’s mouth to make sure food has been swallowed. Learn the Heimlich maneuver in case of an emergency.
Thrive Ice Cream melts to a honey or nectar consistency and is appropriate for individuals with swallowing disorders such as dysphagia.
- Only use vitamin supplements on the recommendation of a physician.
We agree with the Alzheimer’s Association that before adding any nutritional product to a loved one’s or patient’s diet that you consult with a physician or dietitian.
Thrive Ice Cream for Health Care is in the midst of a national roll-out to healthcare systems and long-term care facilities. Packed in six-ounce, single-serve cups. Thrive is a source of complete nutrition, patient satisfaction, proven to counter malnutrition and unintended weight loss, and appropriate for a wide range of health conditions. It’s also a great addition to hospital cafeterias and canteens as a nutritious snack. Visit our website for more information.