nutritional problem that can affect care recipients in
poor health is cachexia-anorexia and it especially
involves those in advanced stages of Alzheimer’s, Cancer
and AIDS. Cachexia-anorexia is a syndrome in which
progressive and involuntary weight loss occurs. The
people with this disorder are “wasting-away” from the
lack of vitamins and nutrients and as a caregiver; this
can be a difficult and frustrating event to witness.
The syndrome can
be attributed to cancer treatments, medications,
physiological problems like an obstructing tumor in the
gastrointestinal track or psychological problems like
depression. It is also possible the person you are
caring for has a loss of appetite simply from not
feeling well. Caregiver.com has come up with a list of
ways to help your care recipient eat. This list doesn’t
necessarily reflect the needs of care recipients on
special needs diets such as diabetes or restricted salt
intake diets. Remember to consult your physician about
the specific dietary needs of your loved one.
Water. Make sure the person you are caring for has
plenty of water to avoid dehydration, which can lead to
Keep it small.
Instead of three large meals a day, which can look
overwhelming to someone in poor health, serve six small
meals a day.
Bulk up on the
amount of calories per meal. For instance, you can add
protein powder mix to shakes or drinks to increase
Soft is better. Serve soft foods
such as pudding, ice cream or fruit smoothies because
they can be tasty and easy to digest.
Make it tasty.
Don’t serve bland or sour tasting foods.
Put the power in
their hands. When possible, give the person you are
caring for the decision-making power to decide what they
would like to eat; it helps them to feel in control.
Make it pretty.
Present appetizing looking meals by accenting the plate
with a garnish (i.e. strawberry or melon). Also, make
the dining experience pleasant for the person you are
caring for by playing soft music or talking to them
about the day’s events while they are eating to take
their minds off not feeling well.
Write it down.
Keep a food diary about the person you are caring for
and include: what food they have problems or
complications digesting and their daily food menus, and
review it with their doctor or dietician for feedback.
They may be experiencing digestive problems or irritable
bowl syndrome due to their menu.
Work it out. Try
and get them moving to work up an appetite. If overall
exercise such as walking isn’t possible, have them fold
the laundry or peel vegetables.
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