Alzheimer’s disease and eating challenges often go hand in hand. As Alzheimer’s progresses, poor nutrition can aggravate confusion and lead to physical weakness, as well as increase the risk of infection and other health concerns.
If you’re caring for a loved one who has Alzheimer’s, understand what causes eating problems and how you can encourage good nutrition.
Consider underlying conditions
If your loved one is having trouble eating, check for underlying problems, such as:
•Oral problems. Make sure dentures fit properly and are being used. Check for mouth sores or other oral or dental issues.
•Medication effects. Many medications decrease appetite, including some drugs used to treat Alzheimer’s. If you think medications are contributing to eating problems, ask your loved one’s doctor about substitutions.
•Chronic conditions. Diabetes, heart disease, digestive problems and depression can dampen interest in eating. Constipation can have the same effect. Treating these or other underlying conditions might improve your loved one’s appetite. Also, consider talking to your loved one’s doctor about removing dietary restrictions.