| Management Strategies
- If cooking has become too difficult, investigate meal assistance programs. Some organizations offer frozen meal programs that deliver healthy frozen entrees that only require microwaving.
- If the person you care for has difficulty going to the grocery store to get food, some supermarkets offer a shopping service for a fee. You can phone your order into the store, and it will be packed and waiting for you when you arrive.
- To help ease the mealtime process, it may be helpful to put labels on drawers and cupboards to help the person you care for know where to look for specific foods, ingredients and supplies.
- Mealtimes should be a relaxed and comfortable time for the person you care for. Minimize distractions such as television or loud music and minimize the number of people at their regular meals. These distractions may interrupt the meal, and cause the person you care for to forget they were eating. As well, remember that there is no need to rush or hurry the person. This will only make them anxious or agitated, which will make it difficult for them to finish the meal. Allow them plenty of time to complete their meal.
- You may have an easier time persuading or reminding the person you care for to eat at an established time during the day. If you create a routine, this will help to provide consistency and may make it easier for them to remember mealtimes.
- If the person you care for becomes restless easily and finds it difficult to sit through a whole meal, it may help to have many smaller meals and snacks throughout the day as opposed to fewer, larger meals.
- Try to find ways to make the eating process easier. For example, you could provide utensils with easy grip-handles or you could pre-cut the food into smaller pieces. This will keep the person you care for from getting frustrated, tired or giving up. Additionally, by making it easier to eat by themselves, you will improve their feelings of independence and self-esteem.
- If the person you care for is overeating, or eating more junk food or sweets than they should, it may be helpful to limit their access to food. Consider putting junk food or sweets in places that are inaccessible to the person you care for.
- If the person you care for has a poor appetite, it may help to encourage exercise and physical activity during the day to help improve their appetite at mealtimes.
- Consider reasons for change in appetite (i.e. taste, changes that occur with age, social setting, need for independence, resistance to dependence).