1. Consider trying finger food if the patient has problems using forks, knives, spoons, etc. Chicken strips, fish stick, hamburgers, and even shrimp fall into this category.
2. Make eye contact while eating. If possible sit directly in front of the patient and make eye contact with him/her and smile before you start eating. Then start eating without talking. Hopefully he/she will follow your lead. Be patient; you might have to do this for a while before it starts working. Get the smile back.
3. Arrange the food on the plate. If the patient is having trouble eating, try less food (portion size), and less items. One or two food choices. In addition, if there is one food the patient really likes, put that on the plate and another food right next to it.
4. Praise the food.
5. Create a positive atmosphere before you eat.