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Why Seniors with Alzheimer’s Lose Weight and How to Prevent it

It’s not uncommon for seniors with Alzheimer’s to lose weight, and as a leading provider of Alzheimer’s home care in Lancaster, we know how easy it is to start worrying when your senior loved one’s clothes start fitting a little loose. There are many reasons why a senior with Alzheimer’s may be losing weight, but there are also a number of things caregivers can do to combat weight loss associated with Alzheimer’s.

Reasons for Weight Loss

Sensory Loss – After age 50, the number of taste buds gradually dwindles. After 70, the sense of smell wanes as well. Flavor is a combination of taste and smell, so when these senses are impaired, food loses its appeal. Taste also declines with diminished saliva, another result of aging.

Memory Loss – With Alzheimer’s, seniors can sometimes forget they need to eat and drink.

Reduced Mobility – This can pose a challenge for grocery shopping, preparing meals, and cooking. An hourly or live-in Lancaster caregiver can assist with these tasks in addition to medication reminders, issues with incontinence, and regular bathing.

Medication Side Effects – These can decrease appetite or give food an unpleasant taste.

Make Meals More Enticing

Experiment With Color – Color can affect a senior’s mood and eating habits. You can experiment with using different colored table settings and note their effects, and you can also experiment with foods every color of the rainbow.

Red – Red is a surefire way to stimulate appetite. This is why red is a common color for restaurant décor, such as napkins, tablecloths, walls, and menus.

Yellow – Serotonin is a “feel good” hormone primarily produced in the digestive tract.

Colors to Avoid – Researchers have found that pink does not stimulate the appetite. White discourages the brain from caring about what’s eaten, and brown nixes appetite because it’s associated with food that’s been burned.

Make Meals Easy to Eat

Finger foods facilitate eating and support independence. The Journal of Dementia Care recommends the following finger foods: tea sandwiches, cheese cubes, bananas, berries, muffins, nutrition bars, hard-boiled eggs, tortilla wraps, and soft tacos. You can also cut foods into smaller pieces to make them more manageable, and serve soft foods if chewing is difficult.

If you want to be sure your senior loved one is eating well and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, Home Care Assistance in Lancaster can help. Our caregivers are experts in dementia and Alzheimer’s care, reliable, and available 24/7. For more information on services available in your area, call (717) 540-4663 to speak with a friendly Care Manager.