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Preventing Malnutrition and Dehydration in Someone with Alzheimer’s

Dehydration and malnutrition are common in people with Alzheimer’s. So as a caregiver, you’ll need to take preventive measures. Here are some ways you can help.

Stick to a schedule. Keep in mind that people with Alzheimer’s have impaired memories. In the earlier stages of Alzheimer’s, your loved one may forget how much she (or he) has had to eat or drink that day. Or just forget to prepare meals. In the later stages, she may not remember how to cook, where the dishes are, or how to pour a glass of water.

Keep track of what your loved one is eating and drinking. Schedule meals and offer water throughout the day.

Check for dental problems. If your loved one with dementia has a problem with her teeth, gums, or dentures that is causing pain, she may not think to mention it. And may instead not want to drink anything hot or cold or eat anything that requires chewing. So ask about pain when eating or drinking and if need be, visit your loved one’s Kansas City dentist.

Prepare nutritious meals. Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s can be draining, especially if you’re also working and raising children. So it’s understandable that you may not always have the time to prepare a nutritious meal. If ordering takeout, try to make choices that are high in fiber, fruits and vegetables, and antioxidants, and low in fat.

Stay on top of depression. Depression is common in people with Alzheimer’s, especially in the earlier stages. And depression can lead to loss of appetite. If your loved one begins withdrawing from social events, loses interest in activities she once enjoyed, and/or stops eating regularly, discuss these potential symptoms of depression with her primary care physician.

Make meals enjoyable. Share mealtimes with the person who has dementia and gently remind her to eat her food if she gets distracted. Offer help if needed. Also, keep the noise to a minimum, as it may cause agitation.

Get help. If you need help preparing healthy meals for your loved one or sticking to a daily meal schedule, get help from a Kansas City home care agency that provides meal preparation services and feeding assistance.

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