4 Ways Dementia Affects an Older Adult’s Appetite

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Dementia is often thought of as a disease of the mind, but it can also have significant effects on the entire body. As the disease progresses, seniors often experience changes in their appetite that can affect their health. Here are some of the most common changes and tips on how to help your elderly loved one maintain a healthy diet while managing these symptoms. 

1. Diminished Sense of Taste

The number of taste buds naturally decreases as a normal result of aging. However, changes in the brain due to dementia can impact the sense of taste even more significantly. As a result, seniors with dementia may refuse certain foods. If your loved one’s sense of taste has decreased, try using fresh herbs as a healthy seasoning alternative. 

2. Intense Cravings

A diminished sense of taste can also lead to intense cravings for overly salty or sugary foods. Researchers have found there’s a part of the brain that produces insulin. If this section of your loved one’s brain is damaged, he or she may crave sugar and be placed at greater risk for developing diabetes. 

There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to address if their families opt for professional senior home care. You can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep your loved one safe and comfortable while aging in place.

3. Lack of Self-Restraint

Dementia can also destroy the part of the brain that helps people curtail undesirable behaviors. This physical change combined with a craving for sweets can cause your loved one to overeat. Be alert for signs of overeating, such as weight gain or changes in blood sugar levels, and implement strategies to encourage self-restraint during meals. 

Some seniors with dementia require assistance with preparing their meals every day, while others simply need someone to spend time with at mealtimes. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of home care service. Montgomery families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet their elderly loved ones’ unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.

4. Loss of Appetite

In the later stages of dementia, your loved one may lose interest in eating completely, placing him or her at risk for malnutrition. When providing dementia care for your loved one, it’s important to understand he or she may forget to eat, which means mealtimes need to be made a regular part of his or her daily routine. Sharing meals together, making food easier to eat, and planning a varied diet can all stimulate your loved one’s appetite. 

Aging in place can present a few challenges for seniors living with dementia. However, they can still live independently at home with the help of professional dementia care. Montgomery families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide their elderly loved ones with mental and social stimulation, timely medication reminders, assistance with meal prep, and much more. Our caregivers are available around the clock to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life. Trust Home Care Assistance to provide high-quality compassionate, professional care for your loved one. Call one of our friendly Care Managers today at (334) 593-3988. 

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