The ability to feed oneself is a basic Activity of Daily Living (ADLs).
Our caregivers are trained and experienced in assisting with eating as required by the person’s physical or cognitive situation.
We encourage our clients to feed themselves as much as possible and help where help is needed.
Mealtimes are important as they provide a welcome break in the day and mealtimes should be enjoyable so that the person looks forward to them.
Our feeding care services include:
• Properly preparing the meal when a person needs assistance with eating
• Feeding a person in bed
• Using eating aids
• Feeding a person who is disabled
• Boosting food intake when appetite is poor or they are losing weight
• Eating problems and solutions to resolve them
Unique HomeCare Services can also assist with Nutrition and Meal Preparation.
If needed, we can also offer Grocery Shopping Services.
Family Caregiver Feeding Tips
Our caregivers are professionals with training and experience in feeding your loved one.
These are our tips for the family caregiver feeding their loved one:
• There is too much to do to spend time cooking meals from scratch? Have meals delivered from Meals-on-Wheels, community meals, or another meal service.
• Allow 30 to 45 minutes for eating.
• Choose foods that are easy to eat, such as meatballs versus steak.
• Avoid fussy meal presentation.
• Cut food into small pieces.
• Fill cups only halfway.
• Have all items ready to eat and within reach.
• Provide a comfortable table and chair or another seating arrangement.
• Supply easy to hold eating utensils and aids.
• Throw out all chipped cups and plates to avoid cuts.
• Reduce excess noise from TV and radio.
• If the person’s vision is poor, place the foods in the same spots on the plate for each meal.
• A bib/napkin can help in reducing the mess.
Feeding a Person In Bed
• Prop their head up with pillows.
• Provide an over-the-bed table. A folding ironing board can be used in a pinch.
• Do not rush the feeding, but keep a steady pace.
• Let the person hold the cup if they can.
• Keep a moist hand towel to wipe the person’s mouth
• Eyeglass chains can be used to hold a napkin around the neck.
Feeding a Person That Is Disable
• If necessary, let them know what the food is.
• If the person plays with the food, limit the choices being offered. Playing with food occurs because the person is distracted, confused or unable to make choices from what is being offered.
• Check the temperature of the food often to make sure it is not too hot or too cold.
• Be gentle with forks and spoons. Rubber tipped baby spoons and forks can be helpful.
• Do not rush, but feed at a steady pace, alternating between food and a drink.
• Remove the utensil from the mouth slowly. If the person clenches down on the utensil, let go and wait for the jaw to relax.
• Give simple instructions such as “Open your mouth”, “Chew your food”, and “now swallow”.
• If the person spits out the food, try feeding later.
• If the person refuses the food, provide them with a drink and try again in 10 minutes.
Boosting Food Intake When Their Appetite Is Poor
• Offer more food at the time of the day when the person is the most hungry or the least tired.
• To increase the appeal of food for those with decreased taste and small offer foods with stronger tastes.
• Use milk and cream in place of water in soups and cooked cereals.
• Add saturated fats by adding butter or olive oil to foods.
• Add nonfat dried milk powder to foods like yogurt, mashed potatoes, gravy and sauces.
• Let the person eat with their fingers if this is the only way to get them to eat.
• Offer milk and fruit shakes as a drink.
• Offer pureed, finely ground foods, similar to baby food.
• Between meals, provide a nourishing snack, such as pudding, stewed fruits and finger foods.
• Supplement drinks can provide needed nourishment and calories between meals but they are not meal replacements.
Eating Problems and Solutions
• Drooling: Carefully use a straw if possible and help close the mouth with your hand. Straws can cause choking if the liquid reaches the back of the mouth too quickly.
• Spitting Out Food: Ask the doctor if the cause could be a disease versus moodiness.
• Too Distracted: Pull down the window shades and remove distractions during meal times.
• Too Much Swallowing or Chewing: Coach the person to alternate between and move the food to the middle of their mouth before swallowing.
• Difficulty Chewing: Change the offerings to softer foods.
• Difficulty Swallowing: Put foods through a blender or food mills. Serve thick liquids like smoothies and shakes and avoid think liquids.
• Poor Scooping: Encourage the person to feed themselves as much as possible. Use bowls versus plates. There are rubber bottomed bowls which keep them from slipping. Rubber handled spoons help as well.
• Trouble Moving Food To The Back Of The Mouth: Change the thickness of the food and coach them on how direct the food to the center of their mouth.
• Too Dry or Too Wet a Mouth: Ask the doctor and pharmacist if this could be a side effect of medications.
Additional Family Caregiver Resources
For additional Family Caregiver tips please see our Directory of Online Resources.
About Unique HomeCare Services
Our headquarters in Norwood, Massachusetts serves the Greater Boston communities in Suffolk, Middlesex, Norfolk, Bristol and our office in Falmouth on Cape Cod serves Plymouth and Barnstable counties.
We provide private in-home care for elders, those with Alzheimer’s or Dementia, and people who are recuperating from illness, injury, or surgery.
We provide both short-term and long-term in-home care needs from as little as one 4 hour day a week to 24 Hour Care and Live-In Care.
We offer a full range of in-home personal care services including Bathing Assistance, Personal Hygiene and Grooming, Dressing Assistance, Toileting and Incontinence Assistance, Feeding Assistance, and Medication Reminders.
We also provide support services such as Case Management, Accompaniment to Appointments, Nutrition and Meal Management, Light Housekeeping and Laundry Services, Bed and Wheel Chair Transfers, and Shopping and Running Errands.
It is our pleasure to assist our veteran clients with VA Aid and Attendance Benefit approval at no cost.
To schedule a no cost and no obligation In-Home Assessment to determine the home care needs and get a quote, please call us to speak to a Case Manager at (800) 296-9962 or fill out our Free Quote Contact Form.