10/28/2013 01:20 pm ET Updated Dec 28, 2013

Alzheimer's Disease and Eating: How This Condition May Impact Your Loved One's Eating Habits

With more individuals being diagnosed with the devastating condition of Alzheimer's disease every day, it is important that the friends and loved ones of these individuals are prepared to help their loved ones through the side effects that often accompany this condition. There are many obstacles that individuals with this disease will have to face as their condition progresses. One of the many obstacles that most friends and loved ones overlook is changes in eating habits. Unfortunately, no matter how great of care that a person with Alzheimer's disease gets, there are many with this condition who no longer maintain normal eating habits and tend to suffer from weight loss or even malnourishment in some dire situations.

This is something that family members, loved ones and caregivers all need to be prepared for so that they can be prepared to handle any complications associated with changes in eating habits should they occur. It is important to remember that there are a number of things that can cause changes in eating habits, and while different individuals may have different underlying causes for their eating challenges, it is important that you get to the root of the problem to help them stay healthy.

One of the most common causes for changes in eating patterns actually comes from the individual with Alzheimer's disease being fearful or nervous. Individuals with Alzheimer's disease are often plagued with nervousness or anxiousness due to their confusion. Many times, when an individual in a situation where they are feeling this way, usually because of their surroundings, they will be hesitant to eat. If you feel a s though this may be the underlying cause to their changes in eating habits, you may want to try and put them in a place where they feel more comfortable, or perhaps let them eat alone instead of in a cafeteria with other residents if they are in a home. An easy change in environment can often go a long way.

While many individuals with Alzheimer's disease struggle due to mental or emotional challenges, there are others who suffer from changes in eating habits because of their physical challenges. Many times with a condition as destructive as Alzheimer's disease, a person can actually lose certain abilities they once had and can forget hot to eat or feed themselves. They may also entirely forget what it is they have to do in order to satisfy the feeling of hunger. There are others who find that their dementia will actually impact their coordination and their ability to physically use utensils or pick up food to put in their mouths. With situations like this, the caregiver or a loved one will need to physically help the individual with Alzheimer's eat and remind them of when they need to have their meals.

Eating problems are not uncommon to those with Alzheimer's disease, but by taking the time to get to the root of the issue, you may be able to make sure that this individual is getting the food and nourishment that they need to be their healthiest.

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