Alzheimer's Support Network


Helping Someone with Alzheimer's Eat

Presented by the Alzheimer’s Support Network


Questions to Ask When Trying to Help:

What?    

  • Is it the mechanics of eating (knowing how to use utensils, the process of getting food from the plate into the month, chewing?)
  • Is it the select foods or all foods?  Solid, liquids, both?
  • What exactly is happening or not happen that prevents eating to occur?

When? 

  • Is there trouble for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks?
  • Is there a time of day that typical works better?
  • Any eating at night?
  • Is there a time that has the best results?

Where?

  • Where are meals typically served?  Is there a typical setting or does it change?
  • Is the environment noisy or quiet? 
  • Is it bright or dark?
  • Does the plate match the table covering or color of the table?

Who?

  • Who is attempting to give assistance?
  • Who else is around?  Are there lots of people or just a few?
  • Who is the person having trouble?  Is it the person not eating, or the person trying to help?
  • What are some of the person’s favorite foods?
  • What are the person’s life-long dinning habits:

               Did the person like to sit down to eat or were they on the run?

               Did the person eat alone or with others?

               Was anyone special normally at meals?

How?

  • How are those attempting to help providing help?
  • What audio, visual, and others cues do they use to promote eating?
  • How are favorable smells encouraged and distracting smells diminished?

Why?   

  • Until we look at all the above, it’s hard to know an answer to why. 

We often wish to jump to why before know the factors that could provide answers.