Family Dinners Benefit Seniors With Alzheimer’s and Dementia

November 2, 2012

Dealing with Alzheimer’s and Dementia at Home?

Alzheimer's and dementia

Eat better, and eat together! Family meals can be enjoyable!

Times have changed. Schedules have gotten more hectic even though technology, medicine, and science have advanced. Those taking care of elderly parents at home experience increased demands upon their time as they help loved ones who struggle with conditions such Alzheimer’s and dementia. Family dinners have become a thing of the past, but in recent years nutrition professionals have begun to promote the benefits of eating together as a family.

Does this sound familiar? It’s 5 o’clock, and you rush home from work to fix dinner. You find that the kids have homework, Grandma had a bad day with the health care workers, and Grandpa is being mischievous. You’re tired, and your husband’s tired; the kids are pooped, and Grandma is cranky. Grandpa was “helpful” today and tried to fix the toilet. Now you have to call the plumber! Everybody wants to go to bed.

Why Family Dinners Are so Important

  1. Communicating with a wide range of ages can have positive effects on both developing adolescents and seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
  2. Regularity provides stability and comfort.
  3. Eating together discourages obesity, substance abuse, and eating disorders.
  4. Positive conversations around the dinner table expand the vocabularies and reading abilities of children, and help seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s connect thoughts with words. They also allow each family member to discuss his or her day, share exciting news, and express opinions.
  5. Family dinners encourage balanced and better nutrition by increasing each family member’s intake of fruits, vegetables, and proteins.
  6. Regular family meals provide calm moments in each day to get away from the chaos and pressures of life, making the home a haven and a source of love, joy, and peace.
  7. Eating as a family promotes family bonding, encourages communication between generations, and promotes respect for individual family members.
  8. Family meals encourage self-esteem and emotional well being, and can help fight depression and loneliness.
  9. Family dinners teach patience, kindness, and empathy, especially if Alzheimer’s or dementia patients are involved.

Taking care of elderly parents with Alzheimer’s and dementia can be challenging. Make eating together as a family a priority. Everyone will benefit. It’s a win-win situation for home caregivers and their loved ones, even if it’s takeout!

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Writer, KC Morgan

Karla and her husband, Art, have been married 31 years. They have two children. She grew up in Houston, TX. She has always loved to read, cook, swim, travel and crafting of all sorts. One day she would love to say she has traversed the whole earth. She taught Montessori school for many years and has tutored many students over the years. She has been interested in the medical field for many years and has been a caregiver for several friends and family members over the past 10 years. Her love of reading has motivated her to try a new challenge, writing.

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