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Are you caring for someone with dementia?

30th Mar 2021

Good nutrition can be a challenge for anyone but for people living with dementia there can be special challenges. The challenges involving food and meal time will vary from person to person, from day to day, even from one meal to the next.

The following information is by no means complete but it is a start. Some of the eating patterns that people with dementia may develop include

• A poor appetite and/or refusal to eat

• A big appetite and always being hungry. Forget they have already eaten

• Wanting to walk around whilst eating

• Eating slowly and becoming too tired to finish the meal

Some ideas that may help improve appetite

- Stronger flavours, extra salt or sugar (even on savoury food)may increase meal appeal- Serve favourite foods even if it means serving the same food meal after meal

- Serve foods that are easy to eat eg. mornays, mince dishes, milky desserts

- Serve small amounts of food regularly throughout the day

- Leaving food (that won’t spoil) out where it can be seen may improve food intake

For someone who always want to eat

- If becoming overweight is likely to be a problem, try to provide reduced fat food and lots of vegetables and salads(if they will be eaten)

For someone who won’t sit down to eat

- Finger foods may be the answer. As long as the food is able to be held without falling apart it is a finger food eg cooked whole carrots and beans, whole chat (new) potatoes, pieces of fruit, sausage rolls, chicken legs, meat balls, vegetable slice (eg zucchini slice), small party pies, a chunk of cucumber, cheese and crackers

- Sandwiches can work. Make sure there is not too much filling and the filling will (hopefully) stay in eg. peanut butter, sliced cheese, thinly slice ham, meat and fish paste. Toasted sandwiches and jaffles (toasties) also may be suitable.For the slow eaters

- Try frequent small meals

- Sit down with ‘them’ to encourage and prompt

- Try to make sure that the person you care for is having enough to fluid. AND, most importantly, if you are the carer, look after yourself !