When cooking meals for your family this holiday season, it is important to consider any special needs of your loved ones. Food choices for seniors living with Alzheimer’s or related dementia or vision issues will need to fit their skill level and abilities. For example, penne pasta can be used instead of spaghetti to help your loved ones spear it with a fork or provides the ability to be “picked up.” This helps maintain independence and dignity in their dining experience.
Other foods that encourage self-feeding are:
- Cubed seasonal fruit salad or any sliced fruit
- Tossed salad with dressing
- Italian green beans
- Steamed broccoli
- Steamed cauliflower
- Cheese chunks
- Garlic bread
- Sliced or cubed ham
- Sliced sausages
- Fish sticks
- Chicken nuggets or cut into bite sized pieces
- Old personal favorites
Additionally, when setting the table remember to:
- Keep it simple; use white plates and dishes to help food choices stand out.
- Avoid patterned dishes, placemats and tablecloths as these may be distracting.
- Use glasses which can be handled easily.
- Plastic may be best in case it is knocked over or dropped.
- Use minimal decorations.
- Make sure the room is well lit to help those with vision problems see the options on the table.
- Don’t use real candles.
- Opt for the battery-operated votive candles
- Stay away from plastic or glass fruit decorations which might confuse your loved ones.
- Make sure your loved one with Alzheimer’s or related dementia or vision issues will be able to sit next to their primary caregiver who can offer assistance if needed during the meal.
- Reduce noise by turning off the TV or any music playing in the background.