What Role Does Eating Play in Dementia?
Eating plays an important role in all our lives. Eating is often a social event, as
well as quality time shared with family and friends. Eating can also provide structure to the day.
For seniors with dementia, eating and drinking can become more difficult. They
may be less able to feed themselves and may also have a poor appetite or
lose interest in food, making it more challenging to achieve good nutrition.
This can be a source of great distress for both the resident and their family and also lead to malnutrition.
What Role Do Fluids Play in Dementia?
Drinking is also important for everyone, including for seniors with Dementia & Alzheimer’s Disease.It is important to aim for at least 8 cups of fluids a day. Fluids can include water, tea, coffee, fruit juice, liquid soup, and milk.
Although it is difficult for some people of all ages to drinking 8 cups a day, it is particularly difficult for seniors and extremely difficult for seniors with Dementia or Alzheimer’s. Some seniors with Dementia may not recognize that they are thirsty or even
may forget to drink all together. This lack of fluids can cause dehydration which leads to constipation, urinary tract infections and can also increased confusion and irritability.
Tips you can use to make eating easier for seniors with dementia?
- Avoid distracting noises from television by eating in a dining room
- Meal presentation must be appetizing, neat, and organized, as well as appropriately portioned.
- Avoid serving meals of one color or one texture
- Eating in company will enhance eating
- Offer a variety of foods, including a variety of textures and colors
- Provide frequent gentle reminding
- Offer extra food if it seems a person is really eating well that day.
Tips you can use to make drinking easier for seniors with dementia?
- Make drinks available frequently throughout the day, offer numerous times
- Put the cup into the seniors hand to prompt them to drink, rather than leaving it on the table and them forgetting it
- Offer a variety of fluid options, not everyone will drink water
- If you are offering water, put it in a pretty cup
- Offer flavored water over plain water
- Do not fill a cup that is too large and seems overwhelming