Your caregivers want to know,
“What kind of diet should I serve my clients with Alzheimer’s?”
Chef Beth from Caregivers Kitchen has the answer!
Chef Beth says . . .
The answer is simple but, like Alzheimer’s, it’s also complicated. A special diet is not required like it is with diabetes or heart disease. In general, serving a variety of healthful foods and beverages will provide those with dementia, and all older adults, with energy to power their bodies and brains.
It becomes more complicated as the disease progresses to advanced stages. Continued damage to the brain affects reasoning, senses, motor skills, swallowing, and the body’s ability to eat safely. While there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ solution, caregivers can take positive steps towards improving nutritional health.
Encourage your caregivers to approach each client uniquely to find the best solution for the situation and the client’s stage of the disease.
Here are a few tips:
- Focus on serving simple, familiar foods. Meals don’t need to be complicated. Prepare meals using wholesome ingredients like lean meat, chicken, fish, eggs, beans, soy, and low-fat dairy foods. Include plenty of fruits and vegetables. Add whole grains from oatmeal, brown rice, and whole wheat and healthy fats from fish, nuts, and vegetable oils. Season foods with flavorful ingredients, but limit salt, added fats, and sugars.
- Hydration is a crucial part of balanced nutrition. Did you know Alzheimer’s disease puts elders at a higher risk of dehydration? Serve water, 100% fruit and vegetable juices, milk, coffee or tea (decaffeinated), and other low-sugar beverages. Include soups, smoothies, and high moisture foods, too.
- Include favorites and comfort foods. Find out which foods are favorites. If the elder can’t remember, ask the family for ideas. Remind caregivers to be flexible as preferences do change over time. For those in later stages of dementia, serving unfamiliar food can cause confusion and challenging behaviors.
Want more tips like this for your care team?
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