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Transcript: "Simplifying Mealtimes"

Cynthia D. Steele, RN, MPH
Johns Hopkins University Alzheimer's
Disease Center:

Nutrition is an important issue in caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease. Both in making sure that someone gets enough food and also that they eat the right kinds of food. One thing is the importance of the environment. It's important in a dining area that it be calm and quiet and that there not be a lot of distractions, like radio or television, or a lot of things on the table to confuse the person. It's often helpful to give them one kind of food at a time. So you might offer a salad, take that away, then offer a sandwich, for example. As time goes on and patients develop more difficulty with coordination you may need to simplify the food that they eat. So, basically, that they can use one utensil, like a spoon. Eventually so that they can pick up their food and don't need utensils at all. Another way to encourage healthy eating is to leave healthy snacks out where people can see it. They will forget what's in the cupboard. They won't know what the refrigerator is. So if there's something you want them to eat like fruit make sure it's out where they can see it and encourage them to frequently eat and take fluids.

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