Alzheimer's Blog


Problems with eating may be caused by:

  • Difficulties with swallowing
  • Poorly fitted dentures or some type of mouth discomfort
  • Side effects of medication
  • Inability to recognize hunger
  • Inability to recognize difference between food and non-food items
  • Depression
  • Some medical conditions
  • Losing interest in food, or hoarding food
  • Forgetting to eat

Physical aspects of eating

  • Encourage person to sit up straight with head slightly forward
  • Present the food no more than 24 “ away from the person
  • Encourage self-feeding at beginning of meal and then help feeding as
     the meal progresses
  • Or help feeding at beginning of the meal and then encourage
     self-feeding as meal progresses
  • Give only one utensil to use
  • Give bowl instead of a plate
  • Use spill-proof plate, plate guard, or scoop plate
  • Use wet washcloth or Dycem placemat under dishes to avoid spilling
  • Allow enough time between bites

 Environmental aspects of eating:

  • Avoid distractions and noise such as conversation, television or radio
  • Keep the table setting simple, remove everything from the table that has nothing to do with eating (e.g. centerpiece, flowers, papers) 
  • Use unbreakable plates, bowls, and cups Avoid tablecloths, placements, plates and cups with a pattern on it 
  • Use plain colored dishes with a contrasting colored tablecloth or placemat 
  • Make sure there is enough light to see the food 
  • Try relaxing music to encourage eating/feeding 
  • Tips to increase or maintain good eating habits: 
  • Offer meals at regular times and in the same place 
  • Have several small meals instead of three large meals 
  • Have the main meal in the morning or early afternoon 
  • Offer liquids frequently, and at room temperature 
  • Offer a variety of food, since a person’s food preferences may change over time
  • Offer finger food or food in bite size pieces
  • Offer food that does not require much chewing 
  • Offer food at the right temperature 
  • Thicken liquids with food thickeners

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