Dressing and Eating Tips for People With Alzheimer's
For someone who has Alzheimer's disease, getting dressed presents a series of challenges, such as: choosing what to wear, getting some clothes off and other clothes on, and struggling with buttons and zippers. Minimizing these challenges may make a difference. Tips for caregivers include:
- Try to have the person get dressed at the same time each day so he or she will come to expect it as part of the daily routine.
- Encourage the person to dress himself or herself to whatever degree possible. Plan to allow extra time so there is no pressure or rush.
- Allow the person to choose from a limited selection of outfits. If he or she has a favorite outfit, consider buying several identical sets.
- Arrange the clothes in the order they are to be put on to help the person move through the process.
- Provide clear, step-by-step instructions if the person needs prompting.
- Choose clothing that is comfortable, easy to get on and off, and easy to care for. Elastic waists and Velcro® enclosures minimize struggles with buttons and zippers.
Eating can be a challenge for people with Alzheimer's. Some people with Alzheimer's disease want to eat all the time, while others have to be encouraged to maintain a good diet. Tips for caregivers include:
- Ensure a quiet, calm atmosphere for eating. Limiting noise and other distractions may help the person focus on the meal.
- Provide a limited number of choices of food and serve small portions. You may want to offer several small meals throughout the day in place of three larger ones.
- Use straws or cups with lids to make drinking easier.
- Substitute finger foods if the person struggles with utensils. Using a bowl instead of a plate may also help.
- Have healthy snacks on hand. To encourage eating, keep the snacks where they can be seen.
- Visit the dentist regularly to keep the person's mouth and teeth healthy.