Caring for a person with late-stage Alzheimer’s: Help with eating and swallowing

Many people in the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease lose interest in eating and may experience trouble with their chewing and swallowing. If a person with Alzheimer’s is not eating enough, he or she may not be getting the nutrients they need to stay healthy. Similarly, difficulty with chewing and swallowing may lead to choking and can cause food or liquid to go into the lungs, leading to serious problems.

However, here are some things you can do to help a person with late-stage Alzheimer’s eat and swallow better. For example, you can:

  • Offer several smaller meals throughout the day.
  • Cut food into small pieces so it is soft enough for the person to eat.
  • Offer soft foods, such as yogurt, applesauce, mashed avocado, sweet potatoes, and bananas.
  • Make sure the person has swallowed before introducing more food.
  • If the person has dentures, make sure they fit correctly.
  • Say “swallow” to remind him or her to swallow.

Explore more tips on how to help a person with late-stage Alzheimer’s eat and swallow better on the NIA website. This information is also available in Spanish.

Last Updated on October 4, 2021

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