Mealtime Tips for Dementia Caregivers

For many people, mealtime is a favorite part of the day, but for many seniors it can become a hassle. We at Carefect Home Care Services understand the difficulties that many seniors and caregivers face when dealing with mealtime and are here to offer suggestions to make the process easier. One of the main concerns when it comes to mealtime for dementia patients is safety. Many dementia patients will face problems with their memory which can cause problems in their daily life when it comes to doing simple tasks that they used to be able to do, such as cooking and grocery shopping. Memory impairment can cause seniors with dementia to leave the oven or stove burners on or let their pots boil over when they cook which can become fire hazards if not dealt with effectively.

Those providing homecare for dementia patients can make grocery shopping and cooking easier by providing some assistance, while still allowing for them to make some of their own decisions so that they can still feel a sense of independence. The first thing that caregivers can do to help with grocery shopping is to help compile a menu and a shopping list. Many seniors with dementia can become confused or forget what they wanted to buy at the store, but an organized shopping list can help. Allowing seniors to plan their own menu gives them a sense of independence and of having control while also helping them to remain focused so that they can remember the things they need. Caregivers can sit down with the seniors once a week, or more if necessary, and plan a menu based on what they will eat and what they are actually able to prepare for themselves. After planning a menu, caregivers can assist with compiling a grocery list and organizing the list so that the items are divided up based on their location in the store. If the list includes where the items are located in the store, it will be easier for the senior to find things when they go shopping. Caregivers or homecare service providers can also accompany the senior to the store if necessary to assist them in their shopping and make things a little easier.

When it comes to meal preparation, there are a number of things that caregivers can do to assist. If you know that the person you are providing care for has repeatedly left the stove or oven on after cooking, or forgets about their food while they are cooking and lets it burn or lets pots boil over, then you might want to suggest easy to prepare meals. Microwave meals can often be an easy solution for seniors who want to cook for themselves because the microwave shuts off automatically when the timer is up. There are several varieties of microwave meals available which provide different food options as well as different levels of nutrition. Other options to consider are meals that do not require any cooking, such as cereal, sandwiches, and sandwich wraps. If you are a caregiver for someone who has always loved cooking, then it is important to try to allow them to continue to cook for themselves as much as they can.

In order to allow seniors to cook for themselves using the stove or oven, it is important to try to come up with ways to ensure that they will be safe while cooking. Homecare services often have people that can cook for seniors in their home and can allow the senior to help with meal preparation as much as they can. This option ensures that the senior is still actively involved in the meal process without leaving any concern for their safety. Caregivers should be sure to carefully watch the patient as they assist in the cooking so that they can be sure that they do not let anything burn or burn themselves. This option is often a favorite solution for those whose family members require homecare because they know that their loved one is receiving a nutritious meal.

Grocery shopping and cooking may seem like the only hard parts of meal time, but in many cases, eating can be a challenge as well. Caregivers can assist seniors in eating by helping them cut up their food beforehand and by serving them foods they can eat with their hands or reminding them how to use their utensils. Serving food in smaller pieces makes it easier for the patient to enjoy their meal without having to try to deal with cutting it up and assessing what is a reasonable size for each bite. If your loved one has trouble with drinking and constantly knocks their glass over, try providing them with a cup that has a lid and straw. There are plenty of plastic cups available that will not break or spill when knocked over. The last thing to keep in mind is to make sure that you sit with your loved one and provide them with enough time to eat so that they do not become frustrated or agitated. Following these tips will ensure that your loved one enjoys their meals and gets the nutrition that they need.