Enjoying meal times together

Enjoying meal times together

I was recently having lunch with my grandmother and I realized how much she’s changed. She holds her spoon differently, and she uses her fork to painstakingly cut the meat, instead of using the knife. I realized that these changes were brought on by her dementia, but I didn’t really know if there was anything I should do to help.

I have two grandparents with dementia who are starting to have trouble eating. Fortunately, as I work at the Alzheimer Society, I have access to a lot of materials and I was really impressed with the updated Meal Times brochure.

It talks about the changes a person with dementia may experience, and how to deal with those changes. I focused on the section for caregivers, but there is also a section aimed at people with dementia.
I learned that keeping my grandmother engaged through conversation and laughter is a great way to foster her independence, and that I shouldn’t jump in to help too soon, but rather should give her cues if she’s having trouble remembering what to do.

Dementia is such a horrible disease, but it doesn’t have to take away enjoyable moments, like eating together. I especially appreciated the advice on dining out, because I’ve experienced awkward situations where I didn’t know what to do – including my grandmother telling the server she had brought her the wrong meal (she hadn’t).

All in all, I think it’s important to let people with dementia be themselves – as much as possible. And it is possible to go out and have a nice meal together, as long as you know what to expect and have a plan for dealing with it.

Download the Mealtimes brochure for more information, including:

  • How dementia affects eating
  • Meal planning strategy
  • What to expect during different stages of the disease
  • Tips for caregivers and tips for dining out
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