Home Health Care News

Helping Families Cope – Making Mealtimes More Enjoyable

The senses often diminish with age. Even healthy older adults lose their appetites when the senses of taste and smell weaken. In addition, Alzheimer’s disease contributes to these natural changes in appetite and eating, because of the decisions that need to be made on what foods to eat, and how to use utensils. Some food requires some cutting, unwrapping, reheating and seasoning to taste – all tasks that are difficult for an older adult with Alzheimer’s or related dementia.

Causes of Mealtime Problems

Other issues can cause mealtime problems for those with Alzheimer’s disease. Following are some common issues and recommendations:

  • Ill-fitting dentures can cause pinching and problems with chewing and may cause painful sores. If your loved one wears dentures, make sure they fit properly.
  • Chronic diseases such as stomach problems, diabetes and especially depression can decrease appetite. Constipation also contributes to a lack of appetite. Liquid or powdered nutritional supplements may be needed to treat poor appetites.
  • Certain food may interfere with medications. It is important to ask questions and talk to your loved one’s physician about preparing menus that are appropriate with prescribed medications.
  • Table manners may be lost as Alzheimer’s disease progresses. Your loved one may spill or drop utensils and dish-ware. Consider using plastic plates, bowls and cups. Large cloth napkins can also help avoid stains on clothing.
  • Impulse eating may occur. Your loved one may overeat or try to eat non-food items. It is best to keep mealtime simple and in a quiet environment.
  • Swallowing may become difficult as the disease progresses because it involves a voluntary and involuntary reflex. Consider learning the Heimlich maneuver to assist in the removal of food that lodges in the throat.
  • Avoid serving hard candies, hotdogs, whole grapes or cherries with pits to your loved one if he or she has swallowing problems or is at risk for choking.


Home Instead Senior Care is an in-home health care provider located in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina serving individuals and families in the Myrtle Beach and Grand Strand area for over 11 years! We offer assistance to those in need for companionship, home help, personal care, short-term recovery, Alzheimer’s care, Respite care and many other services to make your life easier.

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p) 843. 357. 9777
f) 843. 357. 9779
11746 Hwy 17 Bypass, Suite B
Murrells Inlet, SC 29576