Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia comes with specific challenges that you may not have expected. An example of this is food hoarding, which is a relatively common behavior in seniors with memory-related diseases. In this article, we will be going over what food hoarding is and how a memory care community in Morris Plains, NJ, can help address this problem.

What Is Food Hoarding?

It is not uncommon for seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia to start showing hoarding behaviors. Hoarding is classified as a disorder where people have difficulty throwing things away, which leads to an accumulation of things they do not need.

Food hoarding is when seniors refuse or are unable to throw away food. They may take excess food for the purpose of storing it away, or they may even avoid eating to save more food.

What Causes Food Hoarding In Seniors?

Alzheimer’s and dementia can impact each individual in very different ways. Because of this, the answer to what causes food hoarding isn’t always as straightforward as you may think. Here are some examples of why your loved one may be showing food-hoarding tendencies:

  • Cognitive impairment: Seniors with memory-related conditions often experience a variety of mental issues that can make everyday tasks difficult. They may have difficulties remembering when they last ate, or they may be unable to tell if they are hungry or full.

  • Food anxiety: Seniors may start to experience food-related anxiety, which can lead to food hoarding. They may be afraid of food running out, or they may be reliving past experiences of scarcity.

  • Control: Seniors with a form of dementia often struggle with the loss of control over their life and their health. This can lead to them hoarding food to maintain some type of control in their life.

It’s important to remember that not every senior who hoards food is going to fit into one of these three categories. Alzheimer’s and dementia are complicated conditions and can produce behaviors that have no real explanation.

Early Signs of Food Hoarding

If you are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia, food hoarding is something you want to be aware of. This is one of the many symptoms of these memory-related conditions that can go unaddressed for long periods of time.

Here are some early warning signs that your loved one may be hoarding food:

  • Excessive food purchases
  • Food going bad or expiring
  • Unpleasant and moldy odors
  • Saving food for later
  • Not discarding excess or bad food

Dangers of Food Hoarding for Seniors

Although food hoarding may not seem serious on the surface, it can come with serious repercussions for seniors. One common example is that they are going to be exposed to harmful molds and bacteria if they are hoarding food that is going bad, which can make them very ill.

If your loved one is saving food instead of eating it, this can also lead to serious nutritional implications. They may become malnourished due to restricting their food intake or eating an unbalanced diet. They could even become sick if they are consuming foods that are past their expiration date.

Any kind of hoarding behavior also leads to isolation, as seniors may feel ashamed of their hoarding or may try to hide it.

How a Memory Care Community Can Help

If you have a loved one who is showing food-hoarding tendencies, it may be time to consider transitioning them into memory care in Morris Plains, NJ. A memory care community is much better equipped to address hoarding concerns and can ensure that your loved one stays safe and eases any anxieties they may be experiencing. Here are some examples of how memory care communities can achieve this:

Provided Nutrition

Nutrition is an essential part of senior care, especially when it comes to those in the memory care community. At a Morris Plains memory care community, residents are provided with all three meals as well as snacks. This can provide the stability your loved one needs to reduce food-related anxiety.

Monitoring meals and only providing food at certain points during the day also ensures that your loved one has less opportunity to hoard.

Daily Entertainment

Some seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia may develop unhealthy habits due to a lack of stimulation. This can cause their cognitive decline to worsen, especially if they are isolated.

A memory care community in New Jersey can provide the right type of atmosphere that keeps them entertained throughout the day. They will be exposed to socialization with other residents and caregivers and will have access to therapies and other types of entertainment.

Cleaning Services

Some seniors may still display food-hoarding tendencies even after moving into a memory care community. If this is the case, there is less risk involved since the memory care community will provide cleaning services for each resident.

Their living space will be cleaned on a regular basis, ensuring that any hoarded food will be removed before it starts to go bad.

24/7 Supervision

It can be challenging to make sure your loved one isn’t hoarding food if you aren’t always able to keep an eye on them. A memory care community provides 24/7 supervision from a team of expert caregivers, which can help prevent food hoarding.

Because each resident has an individualized plan, caregivers will also be aware of this and can keep an eye on your loved one during meal times.

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia can be very challenging, which is why it may be the best option to consider transitioning them into a memory care community. As you embark on the journey towards finding warm and welcoming care in Morris Plains, NJ,, don’t miss downloading our free resource The Journey to Senior Living: A Step-By-Step Guide For Families.

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