KnowItAlz.com

Alzheimer's Blog

Nutrition

Reasons for malnutrition:

  • Inability to fix a meal
  • Forgetting to eat 
  • Inability to recognize hunger 
  • Decreased sense of smell and/or taste 
  • Losing interest in food, or hoarding food 
  • Inability to recognize difference between food and non-food items 
  • Difficulties with swallowing 
  • Poorly fitted dentures or some type of mouth discomfort
  • Side effects of medication 
  • Constipation 
  • Depression 
  • Some medical condition 

Signs of swallowing problems: 

  • Sudden or increasing weight loss 
  • Fear of eating or choking 
  • Complaints of food catching in throat 
  • Elevated temperatures accompanying congestion 
  • Wet sound voice during or after feeding 
  • Reflux or regurgitation 
  • Stuffing mouth 
  • Reluctance to eat 
  • Extremely rapid or slow eating 
  • Drooling or excessive saliva 
  • Food pocketing 
  • Coughing or choking during or after meals 
  • Coughing up food particles 
  • Difficulty swallowing food 
  • Consistent throat clearing during eating

Tips to increase or maintain adequate nutritional intake:

  • Serve favorite foods at beginning of meal to encourage eating
  • Serve cooked cereal and/or liquids thickened with fruit sauces if taking liquids is a problem 
  • Serve strained, pureed food, powdered protein and ice cream if taking solids is a problem 
  • If given a food or drink choice, limit it to two 
  • 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 
  • Start meal with the food that has the highest nutritional value 
  • Offer liquids frequently, and at room temperature 
  • Offer a variety of food, since a person’s food preferences may change over time 
  • Add extra nutrients to the diet if necessary 
  • What to avoid Rushing through the meal

Foods that may result in choking (nuts, popcorn, chips, raw vegetables)
 

  • Dry, stringy meats that are hard to chew
  • Food without nutritional value

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