How to Spoon-Feed Someone With Dementia

Some people reach a point of needing to be spoon-fed, because they can no longer physically manipulate utensils or the tongue motions to chew and swallow effectively. Yet the appetite may still be strong.

To spoon-feed successfully, try these tips:

1. Put only a small amount of food on the spoon at a time. If your loved one has difficulty opening his or her mouth wide enough, use a small, narrow spoon or even a baby spoon.

2. Serve moist or moistened foods that don't require much chewing (pureed foods, yogurt, potatoes with gravy, oatmeal, grits).

3. If necessary, remind the person to swallow. Make sure the food is swallowed before you offer more.

SEE ALSO: Find Memory Care Near You


almost 2 years ago, said...

Oh, anonymous. How I wish I could send you a hug or prayer. You and your Mum are in my thoughts and prayers. Sending you a virtual {{{{{{{{bear hug}}}}}}}}.


almost 2 years ago, said...

Thanx for the advice re Amazon for feeding spoon. Yes, after feeding mum lunchtime today, she is biting really hard on the metal spoon we are currently using......we realise that things are progressing very quickly now and mum really cannot tell the difference between food or drink, so , anything we put in her mouth just gets bitten down on .... This is so hard x


almost 2 years ago, said...

Hi anonymous, yes, the site is based in California. What's nice is that it deals with a problem that is worldwide. I'm not sure I would use a plastic spoon - it could break, and then you'd have the possibility of cuts to the mouth, esophagus and stomach, should they be swallowed. Check on Amazon.uk like the OXO Tot feeding spoon set with soft silicone comes in several colors - pink green aqua. Best wishes from across the states and the pond!


almost 2 years ago, said...

Claire, thanx for reading my comments...... we are all trying to do the best in an awful situation. will get plastic baby spoons, as really scared of the broken tooth scenario . Btw think this is a US site ? I'm in the UK..... but alzheimers the same no matter where you are x


almost 2 years ago, said...

To anonymous - try to get one of the baby spoons which is coated, rather than just metal - you don't want to add a broken tooth to her list of ailments. You might check with her Dr's - it may be time to bring in Hospice care to help.


almost 2 years ago, said...

my mum is in very advanced stages now and feeding is very hit and miss,depending whether or not she is sufficiently awake. When we do manage food, we are still using a normal spoon, which she tries to bite. following reading this ,I will get a baby spoon to try- had already considered this, but now the spoon biting a lot worse, will do it .


about 2 years ago, said...

Poky - I would feed her until she starts coughing, or being unable to chew her food properly. The coughing signifies that the swallow reflex is impaired, and she would end up with aspiration pneumonia. It is a very personal decision that you need to make based on what you knew her preferences were prior to her becoming so ill.


about 2 years ago, said...

As long as my wife is aware of things going on around her I can see feeding her how ever if she is not much more than a vegetable I question feeding. As for myself, let me go when the time comes, no one benefits from prolonging a life that really isn't. I will never know and promise I won't hold it against you. I hope I am not out of line in saying this. If there is information out there that might give me a new view on this please let me know. Please don't hate me for feeling this way.


over 2 years ago, said...

thank-you. my mom is at this point. and we want to be sure we are doing the best for her and her comfort.


over 2 years ago, said...

For me, this is a grey area. My parents did a POLST (Do Not Resuscitate) order prior to being too far into dementia. Spoon feeding, having to remind them to swallow, feeding liquified food and the like seem to be counterintuitive to the do not prolong my life by forcing nutrition on me. Especially when there is coughing upon eating/drinking, which shows that the swallow reflex is impaired. Does anyone else have any thoughts on this?


about 4 years ago, said...

All of it,. I never thought of using a baby spoon! Because My Mom doesn't have teeth , the pureed food might be the answer.


about 4 years ago, said...

I kno this is probly where I'm headed w/gma bcuz even tho she still feeds herself, she chokes on every meal, like it's a combination of texture & forgeting how 2 take a bite, chew & swallow... Yes it's very sad 2 c the progression.


over 4 years ago, said...

Thank for posting this inf.It is very help for me to know how to help my Mom.


almost 5 years ago, said...

My mom also forgets to swallow her food and holds it in her mouth. Very depressing.


almost 5 years ago, said...

The 3 tips may seem obvious on reading, but when my wife has intermittent difficulty opening her mouth I had never thought of switching for a few minutes to a smaller or child friendly spoon.


about 5 years ago, said...

This has to be at the severe stage.. as my mother is at the moderate stage and can still feed herself at his stage. Good to know though, as I will be assisting in her meal time.. thanks