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  • Be patient and adaptable. Eating will take longer during the late stage of Alzheimer’s disease. While time is precious for health care workers, try to allow the person ample time for meals. Over time, adjustments might be necessary in order to accommodate changes in food preference or portion tolerability. Individuals with late-stage Alzheimer’s sometimes eat more if they are offered smaller meals or snacks throughout the day rather than three larger meals.

  • Choose easy-to-swallow foods. Provide soft foods that can be easily chewed and swallowed. Bite-sized foods also work well, as do finger foods such as cheese cubes or mini-muffins. If the person can no longer eat solid food, try mashing up the food or pureeing it in a blender.

  • Encourage fluid consumption. Alzheimer’s disease sometimes impedes a person’s ability to realize he or she is thirsty, so it is important to provide frequent opportunities to drink liquids. If swallowing water is problematic, try offering fruit or vegetable juice, soup, yogurt, or flavored ices. Liquids can also be thickened by adding cornstarch or unflavored gelatin.

  • Be prepared for choking incidents. Because late-stage Alzheimer’s often includes problems with swallowing, coughing and choking are serious risks during meals. Be sure that all staff can perform the Heimlich maneuver and are prepared for choking emergencies.

  • Encourage, then assist. Even in the late stage of Alzheimer’s, some individuals can still feed themselves to some degree when provided cues and encouragement. Guiding the person through the first bite may initiate self-feeding. If it is clear that the person cannot feed himself or herself, offer food and beverages slowly,

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