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Top Ways to Get Someone to Eat

A common 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, and 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. Today’s Caregiver magazine has come up with a top list of ways to help your care recipient to eat. This list doesn’t necessarily reflect the needs of care recipients on special need diets such as: diabetes or restricted salt intake.

Water, Water, Water- Make sure the person you are caring for has plenty of water to avoid dehydration, which can lead to appetite suppression.

Instead of three large meals a day, which can look overwhelming to someone in poor health, serve six small meals a day.

Serve soft foods such as pudding, ice cream or fruit smoothies because they can be tasty and easy to digest

Don’t serve bland or sour tasting foods.

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.

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.

Try herbal appetite-enhancing teas or appetite stimulating medicines (i.e. corticosteriods or progestational agents).

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.

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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