For many of us, mealtimes are about more than just nourishment. They are a time to connect with family and friends, to share a part of your day with others. For those with Alzheimer’s or memory loss, this desire to connect over a meal is often times not lost, and caregivers can do more than they think to help those individuals find pleasure in mealtimes again.
As VP of memory care services at Sunrise, I am focused on enriching all of the experiences of our residents with memory loss, including mealtimes. Next week, communities will open their doors – and their kitchens – to the public during Taste of Sunrise, where they will showcase the Sunrise Signature Dining Program and all that it has to offer.
As visitors to Taste of Sunrise will see, the Sunrise Signature Dining is specifically designed to be tailored to all residents’ needs and preferences, especially those in our Reminiscence, or memory care, neighborhoods. Our dedicated care managers are trained to ensure that each and every person gets the most out of mealtimes. In a recent blog post that I authored for the Huffington Post, I described steps that can be taken by any caregiver to ensure their loved ones retain as much independence as possible during mealtimes.
Caregiving can be challenging, and often your first worry is that your loved one is even getting the nutrients they need, let alone if they are retaining their independence at meals. But, what many people do not realize is that these two things go hand-in-hand. A few simple adjustments on the part of the caregiver – such as helping the individual cut their own food, showing them how to eat by demonstrating it yourself, and making food “portable” – can make a world of a difference to those with memory loss.
I encourage all caregivers to attempt a few of the tips I share in the article. You may find that some are more successful than others, or that you can adjust them to work with your individual situation. What I hope you find, above all, is that a few minutes of specific attention to this aspect of your loved one’s day will help bring you closer together.
To learn more about Sunrise Signature Dining visit our Dining page or read our Senior Eats™ food blog.