How to handle repetitive eating by someone who forgets?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

My husband forgets he just ate .and wants to eat again, and again. Help!

Expert Answers

Jennifer Serafin, N.P. is a registered nurse and geriatric nurse practitioner at the Jewish Homes for the Aged in San Francisco.

Many persons with dementia will often want to eat again, as they do not know when they are hungry, as they do not get the same cues we do. They also cannot remember they just ate. We recognize that our stomachs grumble, and we know that means we are hungry. Many dementias may mix up this signal or make someone forget what that feeling means.

First, make sure that they are getting enough to drink. Many times, they are thirsty, but do not understand the difference between hunger and thirst sensations.

If it really is related to wanting food, you can try sitting out some easily handled snacks, like crackers, banana slices, cheese, or small sandwiches. Usually, once they have something that they are nibbling on, they will be satisfied. Or, if you are worried about calories or them gaining too much weight, try serving them 6 smaller meals instead of 3 bigger ones. Or, make the snacks consist of veggies/fruits, like carrot sticks or apple slices.

Hope this is helpful. Good luck!