EP82: Alzheimer's Disease Care: 3 Tips for Eating and Drinking at Home

MelissaBPhD's podcast

Sep 28 2021 • 4 mins

Alzheimer's Disease Care: 3 Tips for Eating and Drinking at Home

I went home to help my 70-year old mother take care of my 91-year old grandmother, who'd been in a nursing home for a year and a half during COVID. Grandma Trudie was extremely debilitated, and in this episode, I share. When your loved one is as weak as my grandmother was, you may need to make some adjustments that allow her to continue to feed herself. This video is part of a 3-part series on Alzheimer's Care and the other videos can be found where you found this one.

✔️ Tip 1: Drinking with Closed Handle Cup

My mom purchased an insulated cup that probably didn't weigh more than like a pound and a half - at the most - but it was too heavy for my grandmother to pick up by herself. Tip number one is to think about getting a cup with a closed handle. If the cup has two handles, one on each side, it will be easier for the person to hold the cup with two hands.

✔️ Tip 2: Mechanical Soft Diet

For patients who usually don't have teeth, creating a mechanical soft diet is very important. Foods mechanically are foods altered by blending, grinding, chopping, or mashing the foods so that they are easier to chew and swallow.

✔️ Tip 3: Using an Apron

My grandmother, even though she can feed herself, sometimes spills her food when eating.  Instead of putting a traditional bib on her, my Mom had the idea to use an apron. This is a really unique thing caregivers can do pretty easily to maintain someone's dignity and to be respectful of them. The apron  allows them to eat on their own, and still look cute and fashionable.

You can check out the Part 1 & 2 episode where you found this one – in Part 1, I talked about 3 Tips for Transferring & Getting Dressed; and in Part II, I talked about 3 Tips to Shampoo Hair in Sitting in a Chair.

If you have questions, comments, or need help, please feel free to drop a one-minute audio or video clip and email it to me at melissabphd@gmail.com, and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

About Melissa Batchelor, Ph.D., RN, FNP-BC, FGSA, FAAN:

I earned my Bachelor of Science in Nursing ('96) and Master of Science in Nursing ('00) as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) from the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) School of Nursing (SON). I genuinely enjoy working with the complex medical needs of older adults. I worked full-time for five years as FNP in geriatric primary care across many long-term care settings (skilled nursing homes, assisted living, home, and office visits), then transitioned into academic nursing in 2005, joining the faculty at UNCW SON as a lecturer. I obtained my Ph.D. in Nursing and a post-master's Certificate in Nursing Education from the Medical University of South Carolina College of Nursing ('11). I then joined the faculty at Duke University School of Nursing as an Assistant Professor. My family moved to northern Virginia in 2015 and led to me joining the George Washington University (GW) School of Nursing faculty in 2018 as a (tenured) Associate Professor. I am also the Director of the GW Center for Aging, Health, and Humanities. Please find out more about her work at https://melissabphd.com/.