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How to Feed People with Dementia

Updated on August 26, 2013


Caring for someone with Alzheimer's is a tough job. Here is a few tips to make meal time enjoyable for both you and the person with Alzheimer's. Save yourself from cleaning up most spills. Keep the dignity of your loved one while making being a caregiver that much easier.

Feed the Forgetful

Alzheimer's patient forgets to eat.  Often people with Alzheimer's forget how to chew and choke..
Alzheimer's patient forgets to eat. Often people with Alzheimer's forget how to chew and choke.. | Source

First Stage of Alzheimer's

People in the first stages of Alzheimer's usually eat meals pretty good with minimal accidents. The only problem in this stage is they forget to eat and take there medication on time. Diabetics with Alzheimer's need to be reminded to take their blood sugar and eat on time and take their insulin if necessary.

The first stage is tricky because the dementia comes and goes. People with Alzheimer's get confused and they become angry. They don't want to lose there independence. One of the first decision you will have to make is to take the car keys that's when things start to get tough.

This stage is hard to deal with because as the caretaker your forced to resort to treating your loved one like a child.

It is hard to juggle there dignity and safety while keeping your sanity. It is suggested to learn as much as you can about Alzheimer's.

Second Stage of Alzheimers

In the second stage of Alzheimer's they are not only forgetful but clumsy. They begin to spill there drinks or tip over there bowls and plates.

You can remedy this problem by purchasing a sipping cup. You can also purchase a Gyro Bowl. You may have seen the demonstration on TV. I used both to make meal time's more pleasant.

I used both for my mother it sure made life a lot less frustrating. You can avoid the crying of your parent from frustration and the embarrassment of spilling drinks and food all over the place

Best of all it give them some Independence and you the caregiver a break. You can allow them to eat snacks out of the Gyro Bowl without supervision.

Although the Gyro Bowl is not a 100% spill proof it will save you a lot of grief. My suggestion to you is to introduce the Gyro Bowl to your loved one by eating out of it first.

Introducing the Gyro Bowl to your loved one in that way they will except it better. They won't get offended.

Share a snack using the Gyro Bowl with your loved one. Drink out of a sipping cup with your loved one a few time to get them use to the idea.

You will more than likely avoid an argument

Last Stages of Alzheimers

In the last stages of Alzheimer’s people lose the ability to eat. They literally forget how to eat. They forget how to open there mouth, chew and swallow.

You are going to have to tell them step by step and show them how to eat at each meal. The best way to do that is to eat with them. Put a bib on them. Use a spoon to feed them. Bowls are easier to scoop food out. Drinking from a straw or a sipping cup is best for drinking.

Mix Thicket or cornstarch, to thicken there drinks. This reduces the risk of choking. Learn the Heimlich maneuver.

Open your mouth and tell them to open there’s.

Then take a spoon full of food and put it in there mouth.

Then tell them to chew. If they do not chew take a spoon full of your food and show them how to chew while telling them to chew on there food. You can say chew like this and point to your mouth.

Sometimes you can make it fun for them. Make like an airplane noise as you bring the spoon to there mouth. That distracts them and keeps them entertained.

Let the child come out of you. That will make it fun for them and bearable for you.

Do not lose your patience. Losing your patience will just confuse them and make matters worse.

Alzheimer's Causes them to Lose the Ability to Eat

This can happen suddenly, or over time. Feeding someone with Alzheimer’s can be challenging. You are always at the risk of them choking. This puts your loved one at risk of choking.

To reduce the chances of choking. I suggest getting a blender. Blending their food is easy to do and safer for your parent with Alzheimer's. Blending the food is only a temporary fix. Eventually they will be unable to eat by mouth. This is when you should consider a feeding tube.


Feeding Tube Care

(images) Article explaining what a feeding tube is, how it works, and how to clean a feeding tube?


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    • Momstalk profile image

      Momstalk 6 years ago from Rock springs Wy

      I really liked these tips thank you. I took care of my grandmother one summer as she was in her second stage. Really wish I would have known of the gyro bowl back than or thought of a sipping cup. Thank you for sharing.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Dealing with an Alzheimer's patient requires great patience and love. Good for you, Tamron.

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 6 years ago from Jamaica

      Good tips. The first stage paragraph needs a little tweaking but good tips non the less.