Elements of Healthy Meal Plans for Aging Adults with Alzheimer’s

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Seniors with Alzheimer’s disease may develop nutritional deficiencies, so it’s important for them to get their recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals by eating nutrient-rich foods. Here’s the best meal plan for aging adults who have Alzheimer’s.

Lean Protein

Seniors with Alzheimer’s may lose their appetites and fail to consume enough protein to keep them strong and active. Incorporating lean sources of protein—such as chicken breast, yogurt, low-fat cheese, and legumes—can prevent muscle wasting and enhance brain function. While eating more protein is essential for seniors with Alzheimer’s, consuming protein-rich foods that are also high in fat may cause gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal pain. If your aging loved one has renal disease or gout, talk to his or her physician before increasing protein.

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Citrus Fruit

Citrus fruits, such as oranges and grapefruit, are high in vitamin C. As people age, vitamin C deficiencies often occur, and they’re even more common in those with Alzheimer’s disease. Vitamin C boosts immunity and lowers the risk for bacterial and viral infections. Certain medications used to treat Alzheimer’s may cause acid reflux or heartburn, so increasing citrus fruit intake may be inappropriate. If your loved one cannot tolerate oranges and grapefruit because of a digestive disorder, offer vitamin C–rich green leafy vegetables instead.

Fresh Fish

Fresh fish such as salmon contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. These essential nutrients are thought to enhance circulation and boost mood. Omega-3 fatty acids may also promote optimal brain function and alleviate symptoms in seniors who have been diagnosed with depression. Omega-3 fatty acids may also calm aggressive behavior so those with Alzheimer’s aren’t a danger to themselves or those around them. If your loved one takes prescription anticoagulant medications to reduce the risk for heart attack or stroke, talk to his or her doctor before incorporating salmon into the diet. Omega-3 fatty acids can decrease platelet aggregation and, if eaten in large amounts, may interact with anticoagulants, also known as blood thinners.

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Nuts such as almonds and walnuts are great sources of magnesium and potassium. Seniors with Alzheimer’s may be deficient in these essential nutrients, putting them at greater risk for high blood pressure and cardiac arrhythmia. Nuts may also relieve anxiety in people with cognitive deficits and promote restorative sleep patterns. If your loved one is unable to eat nuts because of diverticulosis or chronic constipation, he or she can eat bananas, which are also rich in magnesium and potassium. People with Alzheimer’s may also have chewing and swallowing problems, so make sure these abilities aren’t impaired in your loved one before offering nuts or other hard foods.

Without the right assistance, Alzheimer’s can be challenging for seniors and their families to manage. If you’re looking for professional Alzheimer’s care, Vancouver Home Care Assistance provides high-quality care aging adults and their families can count on. All of our hourly and live-in caregivers are trained to help seniors with Alzheimer’s live happier and healthier lives, and we also provide specialized dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care. Reach out to us at Home Care Assistance if you need compassionate, professional Alzheimer’s home care for your loved one. Call one of our friendly Care Managers today at (778) 279-3634.

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