Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Alzheimer's & Eating.
While I have not found this magazine online yet to refer to, I thought I would share an article in it titled "Alzheimer's and eating: a unique burden", by Michele Mongillo, RN. All of us have heard how this disease changes people - their behavior, memory, thinking. It affects daily life. Nutrition can be an issue; we have all heard that certain foods MAY slow it down, there is no fix. But the article states, that it is best if the elderly person can eat a well-balanced diet - to stay strong and maintain a healthy weight. Of course, there is always the fact that your family member may not remember if they ate - been there!!
The article says that if you are the one planning the meal, try to offer a wide selection of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Cut the food into bite sized pieces -- makes it easy to pick up with a utensil or fingers. Plus it makes the food easy to chew and swallow. Allow foods with high water content (since they may not drink enough) like soups, fruit, & smoothies. If the person has visual issues, there may be problems distinguishing food on their plate -- limit the amount and types of food being served. Even if it is a favorite, they may not recognize it. Here too, it may be helpful to avoid dishes, tablecloths, napkins that have a busy design.
If you are going out, places with a lot of noise might be too distracting, so choose one with a quieter atmosphere. If at home, eat meals without the radio or TV.
Some of this may be trial and error. From personal experience now -- if there are any other medical issues, you may want to talk to your doctor or dietitian. Mom had to have low-sodium foods, she had a heart condition and high blood pressure. I had to watch her potassium intake (among other things) with her being on dialysis. We had to change from her favorite drink, Ensure, to Nepro (which she did not like as much but we found ways to doctor it up). Several talks with the dietitian at the dialysis center, and many handouts later, we were able to shop for foods and herbs to make things taste better.
I did find a similar post on the Alzheimer's Association website. Read here.
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4 Signs of Caregiving Stress Overload
ElderCarelink email posts 4 signs that should not be overlooked by you, the caregiver, or a close family member or friend. They report that even though the immediate caregiver may not be helping in direct care, the mind is never far from the needs of the older person, thinking about meals, falling, medications. Take the opinion of a family member or friend if they are telling you that you are stressed. Four signs: you skip your own physicals; you isolate yourself from others; you eat and/or drink too much for good health; you are short tempered with the elder, your spouse or your children. If any or all of these sound familiar, take a break no matter how short in order to recharge. For more information on caregiver stress see ElderCarelink
You can check out my ranting and stream of consciousness writing about looking at adult service providers with Will.
A Caregiver's Poem
I was looking through a 'Caregiver's Blog: Senior Care Support' and came across a poem that was shared by a writer, Dana, from the blog. The poem was written by Becky Netherland and Dana's grandmother shared it with her. I thought it was great and there is not much to say about it - just read!!! Enjoy!!
(picture from Caregivers Blog)
I’ve traveled paths you’ve yet to walk
Learned lessons old and new
And now this wisdom of my life
I’m blessed to share with you
Let kindness spread like sunshine
Embrace those who are sad
Respect their dignity, give them joy
And leave them feeling glad
Forgive those who might hurt you
And though you have your pride
Listen closely to their viewpoint
Try to see the other side
Walk softly when you’re angry
Try not to take offense
Invoke your sense of humor
Laughter’s power is immense!
Express what you are feeling
Your beliefs you should uphold
Don’t shy away from what is right
Be courageous and be bold
Keep hope right in your pocket
It will guide you day by day
Take it out when it is needed
When it’s near, you’ll find a way
Remember friends and family
Of which you are a precious part
Love deeply and love truly
Give freely from your heart
The world is far from perfect
There’s conflict and there’s strife
But you still can make a difference
By how you live your life
And so I’m very blessed to know
The wonders you will do
Because you are my granddaughter
And I believe in you.
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