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Alzheimer's and Taste

Alzheimer's disease may lead to a decreased sense of taste in some people. This, along with the person's declining judgement, can cause the person to eat innappropriate things. Tips for keeping a person with Alzheimer's healthy include: locking up medicine cabinet items, keeping the poison control hotline number handy, and learning the Heimlich maneuver.

Alzheimer's and Taste: An Overview

People with Alzheimer's disease may lose their sensitivity to taste. As their judgment declines, they may also place dangerous or inappropriate things in their mouth.

Alzheimer's and Taste: Suggestions

Suggestions for dealing with taste issues as Alzheimer's progresses include:
  • If possible, keep a spare set of dentures. If the person keeps removing dentures, check for correct fit.
  • Keep all condiments such as salt, sugar, or spices away from easy access if you see the person with Alzheimer's disease using excess amounts. Too much salt, sugar, or spice can be irritating to the stomach or cause other health problems.
  • Remove or lock up medicine cabinet items such as toothpaste, perfume, lotions, shampoos, rubbing alcohol, or soap -- which may look and smell like edible items to the person with Alzheimer's disease.
  • Consider a childproof latch on the refrigerator, if necessary.
  • Keep the poison control hotline number by the telephone. Keep a bottle of syrup of ipecac available (to induce vomiting), but only use it with instructions from poison control or 911.
  • Keep pet litter boxes inaccessible to the person with Alzheimer's disease. Do not store pet food in the refrigerator.
  • Learn the Heimlich maneuver or other techniques to use in case of choking. Check with your local Red Cross for more information and instruction.
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