· Use different colored dishes. For example, use a red plate and a blue mug on a yellow placemat. This helps distinguish each item for their proper use in addition to defining the food on the plate.
· Create a delineated space for each individual; using a square table is better than round, when serving several people. This can avoid the confusion of what items are to be used by each person.
· Play to their sense of smell and have it become a part of the dining experience. Using fresh herbs and spices help to stimulate senses, memories and conversation.
· If there are options to choose from, do not use menus or verbal descriptions. Choices should be made after the food is seen, smelled and perhaps even tasted.
· If properly utilizing utensils is an issue, serve finger foods or make the meal into a sandwich- easily done if you get creative. Now is not the time to worry about being neat and tidy.
· If there is a loss of appetite that is leading to unhealthy weight loss, fortify a simple dish with extra ingredients. For example, serve a comfort food like mashed potatoes and mix in sour cream, cheese or bacon to add some fat content.
· Be sure that the dining environment is calm and free from distractions such as loud noises and unpleasant smells. Play soothing music and allow enough time for eating at their own pace.
Chicagoland Methodist Senior Services