Though Alzheimer’s is mostly a mental condition, it is still important to keep seniors with Alzheimer’s physically healthy. People with Alzheimer’s are at risk for being both underweight and overweight because neurodegenerative conditions can affect their appetites. In addition to finding healthy foods that provide the right amount of calories, there are a few specific nutritional issues that need to be addressed when creating a diet plan for a senior with Alzheimer’s. Follow these tips to find the right diet plan for your loved one.
Adjust Caloric Intake
Being either underweight or overweight can cause other issues that make it more difficult for a senior with Alzheimer’s to stay in good health. However, some seniors with Alzheimer’s refuse to eat most foods while others overeat sugary snacks. Talk to the doctor to find out whether your loved one needs to gain or lose weight. Underweight seniors may need to be tempted with occasional sugary drinks and fatty treats, or sources of extra calories may need to be removed from the diets of overweight seniors.
When aging adults develop Alzheimer’s disease, their families are not always able to provide the well-balanced diet they need. Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Denton Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.
Avoid Processed Foods
The main goal of any Alzheimer’s diet is to provide healthy nutrition for a senior’s body and brain. Meals made with fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and lean meats are recommended for seniors with Alzheimer’s. Cooking food from whole ingredients cuts down on sodium, artificial preservatives, saturated fats, and excess sugars.
Increase Fiber Intake
Many Alzheimer’s medications list constipation as one of the most severe side effects. Encourage healthy bowel movements by making sure your loved one gets plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in his or her diet. These are all strong sources of fiber that ease digestion. Extra fiber can also lower bad cholesterol levels and keep the heart healthy.
As a family caregiver, you may not always have the time to create a nutritious diet plan for your loved one. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Denton, TX, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.
Include Plenty of Liquids in Meals
Alzheimer’s can cause the body to quit signaling thirst, which leads to dehydration. Even healthy brains cannot function well without enough water, so dehydration can particularly worsen Alzheimer’s symptoms. Try to encourage your loved one to drink more and choose meals with a lot of liquid. Good options include smoothies with fresh fruit and milk, soups with broth, cereals, and fruits or vegetables with a high water content.
Add Healthy Fats
Omega-3 is a special type of healthy fat used to create the cell membranes in the brain. It is also linked to lower levels of oxidative stress, so most research indicates omega-3 fatty acids can protect brain health. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish like tuna, salmon, or sardines and in walnuts and other types of nuts.
Recovering from a stroke, managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and a variety of other health-related situations can make it difficult for a senior to continue living at home without someone there to help. Denton, Texas, live-in care professionals are trained to help seniors who need 24/7 assistance. With the help of a live-in caregiver, your elderly loved one can maintain a higher quality of life while aging in place. If you’re in need of a professional caregiver for your senior loved one, give Home Care Assistance a call at 972-468-6010 today.