Jun 6, 2011

Alzheimer's, Red Plates, Mirrors, and You

Forty percent of Alzheimer's patients have trouble eating. Some stop eating, some don't eat enough to maintain their weight. Sooner or later this happens to most.

Alzheimer's and You | Alzheimer's Reading Room

Sometimes there is no clear cut solution to eating problems. However, we have an article on this website that indicates using red plates can help Alzheimer's patients eat more food.

Researchers found that Alzheimer's patients eating from red plates consumed 25 percent more food than those eating from white plates. 


Eating problems can completely disconcert Alzheimer's caregivers. I had a friend that was completely distraught over the fact that his wife would not eat enough and was losing weight. Imagine, dealing with this every day. Maybe your are.

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

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I was watching Dr Oz a few weeks ago and he had a nutritionist on. Guess what she said? Don't eat off red plates because you'll eat more. I guess this explains why there are a lot red paper plates at barbecue's and birthday parties. Note to Bob. Don't use red plates at Dotty's upcoming birthday party. I already bought red cups. Better get extra drinks.

There can be little doubt that some Alzheimer's patients have visual problems associated with their growing cognitive difficulties. I think we should all keep this in mind. We might be helping to create bad or confused behavior by not paying attention to all the cue's in the environment.

I know that when Dotty has to go from colored carpet to white tile she stops dead in her tracks. On the other hand, when she goes from white tile on to colored carpet she doesn't stop. Specifically, she stops almost every time while exiting her bedroom. She never stops on the way in.

Amazing, as I am typing this Dotty is going "YouWho", "YouWho". Dotty just got herself up, walked across carpet, on to tile, on to carpet and used the toilet to pee. On the way back, she walked off checkered tile (bathroom), on to carpet (bedroom), and stopped dead when she came to white tile. I asked her many times why she stops. She more or less says, I can't move.

I read recently that some Alzheimer's patients get confused or upset when they look in the mirror and see themselves. Sometimes they don't see themselves, they see a stranger. If that happens, it would be a good idea to cover the mirrors.

When Alzheimer's patients get confused or disconcerted some times they have trouble shaking off those feelings. This shouldn't be hard to understand. If they can't remember why they are "scared" how can they diffuse those feelings? Some tender loving care might help.

I am no expert in why Alzheimer's can be mean or nasty. However, my little Dotty was meaner than a junkyard dog for at least a couple of years. Now she is sweeter than sugar -- about 60 percent of the time; and, just a pain in the butt the other 40 percent of the time.

I think this shows if you try and discover why an Alzheimer's patient is mean, you can do something about it.

One thing I know for sure. If an Alzheimer's patient gets upset the same time every day, more likely than not, it is what is going on at the time that is disconcerting. You really do have to look for patterns of behavior. When the episodes happen, what time of the day. You have to ask yourself, are elements of the environment triggering difficult to deal with behaviors?

You really have to get over into Alzheimer's World to detect and understand what is happening. One thing I know, night time is more difficult than day time for this Alzheimer's caregiver.

Just remember this.

When Alzheimer's strikes,
Something has to change,
That something is,

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