Challenging Behaviors for the Caregiver
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By Elisabeth A Hinman-Smith M.S.W. & Lisa P. Gwyther M.S.W.
"Daddy used to clean his plate and then have seconds. He was always a good eater. But now he never seems hungry - we have a hard time getting him to eat, though he still likes sweets the best."
* Try to reduce noise, glare and other distractions from the eating area. (e.g. Turn the TV or radio off during meals, although some people may find that soft music is calming during a meal.)
* Avoid placemats, plates and tablecloths that have patterns. Serve only one food at a time. Set the table with only the utensils that are to be used.
* For some people, bowls will work better than plates. You may also wish to try placing a damp washcloth beneath the plate to reduce sliding. You may try large - handled silverware or flatware with rubber tubing on the handle, which is easier to grip.
* Bendable straws or cups with lids and spouts may make taking liquids easier to handle.
* Try feeding five or six small meals a day for people who eat too little or those who want to eat constantly.
* Watch chewing and swallowing carefully. Storing food in the moth and swallowing difficulties can lead to choking.
* Be sure the person gets enough liquids.
* Keep person upright for 30 minutes after meal to avoid choking.
* For those with trouble using utensils, try "finger foods." Examples are as follows: french fries, cheese cubes, fruit slices, small sandwiches, fried chicken, spare ribs, chicken "nuggets", fish sticks, raw vegetables cut into sticks, crackers, hard boiled eggs, pickles, bread sticks, cookies, hot dogs, pizza, soup or juice in a cup.
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