Watching your mom’s mental acuity and fine motor skills in the past few months has been especially challenging. One of the biggest issues you’re having is her agitation around meals and snacks. Your mom gets frustrated and won’t eat. She doesn’t seem to like anything you make. How do you ease the mealtime issues that arise in Alzheimer’s mid-stages?
Be Consistent in What You Offer
You need to be consistent when it comes to meals and snacks. If your mom always had breakfast at 9 a.m. and lunch at noon, try to stick to that schedule. Aim for foods you know she loved. She always loved to have turkey and avocado sandwiches, so serve those. Slice them into triangles or quarters to make them easier for her to eat.
Your mom always aimed for a larger lunch and a smaller dinner. Try to make that happen as much as you can. Consistency is going to keep her frustration to a minimum. Plus, stabilized blood sugar levels might ease some of her agitation.
Focus on Finger Foods
Finger foods are often easier to eat as fine motor skills diminish. Using a spoon, fork, or knife isn’t going to be easy for your mom, so she may not eat as much. Instead of fish and chips that involve a fork, serve fish fingers with her fries. Instead of handing her a banana to peel and eat, slice it up with a variety of other ripe fruits. Let her pick and choose what she wants.
If your mom loves cheese and crackers, make herbed cream cheese and spread that on wheat crackers. Mix grated cheddar, egg white, and almond flour. Use a spoon to drop portions on a piece of parchment paper. Bake them until crispy for a quick and easy cheese cracker.
Try New Flavors
From time to time, throw in something new. She’s never had dragonfruit. Slice some up and see what she thinks. If she loves it, you can keep offering it from time to time. If not, you’ve tried and know not to bother again.
Turn Unhealthy Into Healthy
Your mom only wants ice cream. She’s insistent that ice cream is all she wants to eat. Make ice cream by putting frozen banana, milk, strawberries, cocoa powder, peanut butter, or other ingredients into a food processor and blending it until smooth and frozen.
You or her Alzheimer’s care provider could use frozen bananas, milk or almond milk, frozen peaches, and frozen raspberries and make a peach melba blend. She has “ice cream,” but it’s not full of the fat and sugar you’re trying to avoid.
Don’t Worry Too Much Over Nutrition
Once you’ve found foods your mom enjoys, stick to them. Unless she has diabetes or a specific dietary plan she must follow, don’t be afraid to go against the rules of a healthy diet you’ve been taught your entire life.
Ask her doctors for guidance. If you find all she’ll eat are yogurt parfaits, and her doctors say it’s fine, let her have them. It’s better to get something into her stomach than
Hire Caregivers to Help Out
Alzheimer’s care provides the break you need from your role of providing around-the-clock care. It takes a lot of mental, emotional, and physical strength to care for a parent with Alzheimer’s disease. It’s okay to admit you need help.