Keeping our brains well-fed with a balanced diet is an important part of slowing the progress of dementia and Alzheimer’s and helping to prevent these conditions in aging adults. From ensuring dementia and Alzheimer’s patients eat regularly to planning meals that are well-balanced and contain foods that nourish the brain, learn how Coleman Adult Day Services’ certified dietitians take these factors into account when planning meals for our clients.
Eating Challenges for Seniors with Dementia and Alzheimer’s
Individuals with dementia and Alzheimer’s may face challenges with getting proper nutrition due to a variety of reasons. Poor appetite and eating habits can be the result of the individual feeling overwhelmed with too many food choices, finding it difficult to distinguish food from the plate, forgetting to eat, having difficulty with eating utensils and more as their cognitive function declines. Eating difficulties can lead to weight loss which can have a negative effect on their health – significant weight loss affects 40% of people with severe Alzheimer’s disease.
Dementia & Alzheimer’s Diet and Exercise
Salty, sugary, and fatty processed food puts individuals at risk for obesity and diabetes – both of which are risk factors for dementia – so aging adults should choose foods that nourish the brain. While our brains comprise only 2% of the body by weight, it uses up to 25% of the body’s energy. Healthy choices for preventing and slowing the progression of dementia and Alzheimer’s include avocado, beans, blueberries, herbs, nuts, extra virgin olive oil, quinoa, leafy green vegetables, and these other options.
A personalized plan of action for individuals with dementia and Alzheimer’s should encompass healthy food choices and exercise, both for the body and the brain. Coleman Adult Day Services offers a range of activities to our clients that keep their bodies moving and their brains engaged – from physical activities like yoga classes to puzzles that are good for brain health, and lots more fun activities.
Serving Balanced Meals at Coleman Adult Day
At Coleman Adults Day Services, our custom therapeutic diets are planned by a certified dietitian to ensure that our clients are getting proper nutrition throughout the day. For individuals with dementia and Alzheimer’s, it’s important to maintain a regular eating schedule with a balanced diet that includes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and lean protein foods. Coleman Adult Day serves three meals a day – a light breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack.
Making sure our meals are a balanced mix of healthy foods helps our clients get the vitamins and nutrients they need to keep them strong and healthy. We limit foods that are high in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium which not only contribute to poor nutrition, but also have a negative impact on overall heart health, leading to conditions like heart disease and high blood pressure. Proper hydration can also be an issue in individuals with dementia and Alzheimer’s so our professionals encourage fluids with water quickly available all throughout the day, not just during meal times.
The Role of Colors in Our Therapeutic Diets
Being color conscious is another important part of our therapeutic diets. People with dementia might find it difficult to distinguish food from the plate or the plate from the table, which can lead to decreased food intake levels. Our meals are served on white plates or bowls with a contrasting color placemat or tablecloth. We also avoid using patterned plates and glasses to prevent confusion while eating. Dietitians carefully plan each meal, ensuring that every plate is colorful.
Learn more about our custom therapeutic diets at Coleman Adult Day and talk to our professionals about all of the services that are available for your loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s.