As the disease progresses, mealtimes can become more difficult for those with Alzheimer's or dementia.

Start by offering a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy oils, lean meats, fish and poultry, low-fat or nonfat dairy products and use less sugar and salt. The Mediterranean Diet plan is rich in these foods.

It is more important for your husband to feel good about being able to feed himself and enjoy food than to always be neat and tidy. All food should be able to be eaten with dignity. If your husband, for instance, is having difficulty with cutlery, finger foods can be a nutritious and easy alternative. Make sandwiches, fruit slices and other easy to eat foods that are healthy and pleasurable. 

You also can find specifically designed utensils, ones that are easy to grip with large handles or curved shapes. A ridged glass or cup that is clear will help him to hold it and see what kind of beverage he is drinking. The Louisiana Assistive Technology Access Network, latan.org, has a wide variety of assistive devices to aid in in eating.

A calming and nonthreatening environment will encourage your husband to eat. Consider how the table is set, using solid colors and eliminating distractions such as an overabundance of flowers or other things that might clutter the table. Make sure the area where he is eating is well lit, that background noises are minimized and that the television set is off. Play soft music and use pleasing aromas like peppermint or vanilla. Have his meal ready before calling him to dinner and use serving ware that contrasts with the food, such as solid red or solid blue plates. Bold contrasting colors will help him distinguish between different objects and foods, giving him more confidence and a feeling of well-being and security.

Remember mealtimes are a way of staying connected. The act of sitting down to eat a meal provides opportunities for relating and connecting. Specifically, mealtimes reinforce physical, psychological and emotional ties with self, caregivers, family and broader social networks. Make sure you join your husband at mealtimes and share those connections together.

Questions about Alzheimer's disease or a related disorder can be sent to Dana Territo, the Memory Whisperer, director of services at Alzheimer's Services of the Capital Area at advice@alzbr.org or visit the organization at 3772 North Blvd., Baton Rouge.