NUTRITION AND DEMENTIA

Nutrition and Dementia

Nutrition and Dementia

 

When someone you know and care about has a diagnosis of Dementia it can be a challenging time.  Anyone caring for and supporting a person with dementia will be aware there are many challenges that can arise around food, nutrition and mealtimes.  These include:

 

  • Changes in food preference
  • Weight loss, vitamin/mineral deficiencies and/or dehydration associated with not eating, forgetting to eat or drink and loss of interest in food
  • Weight gain associated with forgetting when eating/drinking or changes in preference for higher calorific/sugary food and drinks
  • Difficulties with swallowing
  • Difficulties with meal preparation, cooking, physically challenges when eating and grocery shopping

 

Here is a list of our top tips that can help people who is experiencing these difficulties.

 

  • Talk with your health professional such as your GP/Speech and Language therapist, Dietician or similar when it comes to swallowing difficulties, these can result in gagging and/or choking issues and professional help/training and advice can help you be informed and prepared.  This goes for most difficulties you may experience as a healthcare professional will be able to help point you in the right direction for more information and services.

 

  • Have a dedicated mealtime ‘room’ this can develop familiarity.  Keep this well-lit and provide a distraction free, uncluttered environment by turning off distractions such as TV’s, only having table items that are being used visible otherwise candles/flowers can cause a distraction, and helpful variants like contrasting coloured plates and adapted cutlery can all help

 

  • Keep offering a variety of foods as preferences and our tastebuds can change.  Keep plates simple so they are not overloaded and offer fluids and finger foods and regularly can help.  Keeping a stock of longer shelf-life items that are easily prepared can help with meal preparation such as tins of soup, smoothies, rice pudding, beans, etc.

 

If you are a carer yourself, it’s important to remember to look after your own health too.  It’s normal that you may need additional help and support from others at some point, whether that is training, support groups, information access or just a break for yourself.  There are likely to be places in your local community but also organisations below are a good place to start. 

https://dementia.ie/

https://alzheimer.ie/about-dementia/

https://www.understandtogether.ie/

Our homes also offer expert dementia care and respite services for anyone that may be interested please don’t hesitate to contact us.