Fine motor skills will change how well your dad is able to complete simple tasks. Motor skills can diminish pretty quickly. Buttoning clothes, tying shoes, and holding items like a fork, knife, or spoon is challenging when you have Alzheimer’s.
As the disease progresses, eating meals with cutlery isn’t easy. You need to start addressing the best ways to help your dad continue to eat as his motor skills diminish.
Eat With Him
If your dad has his family to eat with, he’s more likely to eat the right amount. If he’s lonely, he may eat a few bites and forget to finish it. If you’re there to encourage him to keep eating, he’ll take longer to eat.
Look for Nutritionally-Dense Food Options
Instead of going for the foods you know your dad loves, try adding some nutritionally-dense items. He loves chocolate so you know he’ll eat it. Puree dates, cocoa powder, almond flour, and silken tofu and shape the mixture into bite-sized balls that he can snack on.
You know your dad likes raisin bran. Purchase a box of bran cereal, white wheat flour, and raisins to make raisin bran muffins that your dad can eat in one or two bites. Instead of using sugar to sweeten them, mash bananas instead.
Serve Finger Foods
Offer your dad finger foods that don’t require forks or spoons. They need to be finger-sized items that can be eaten in one or two bites. Finger sandwiches, chicken fingers, fries, tater tots, and tempura vegetables are all options.
Slices of softer fruit like peaches, mango, and banana are great choices. You could also make miniature quiches in a mini-muffin tin. Place a circle of bread on the bottom of the muffin cup and press it into the cup to form the crust. Add your quiche filling, making it a mix of egg, cheese, greens, and fresh herbs.
Offer Meals More Often
Instead of three main meals, offer your dad food every couple of hours. He may not eat as much, but he’ll have frequent meals to keep his blood sugar levels steady.
Stock Up on Soft Foods
Keep soft foods on hand. They’re easy to eat and swallow. Yogurt, cottage cheese, applesauce, and mashed potatoes are good options. You can make mashed squash, sweet potatoes, and potatoes and keep them in the freezer to reduce preparation time.
Keep Frozen Fruit in the Freezer
Stock your dad’s freezer with frozen fruit. You can turn frozen berries, bananas, yogurt, and milk into nutrient-rich smoothies. Add some protein powder, spinach powder, and oats each day.
Eventually, your dad will need someone to help him eat. Alzheimer’s care aides are trained in helping feed your dad. They’ll make sure he has soft foods that are easy to swallow. Nutritional shakes may also be required, and an Alzheimer’s care aide can get that drink ready and hold it while he drinks through a straw. Call to make the arrangements.