Top tips for eating and drinking well with dementia
Different types of dementia act upon different areas of the brain, affecting people’s behaviour around food and drink in various ways.
For instance, people with a diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia are more likely to develop a sweet tooth and only want to eat sugary food; whereas people with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease are more likely to experience difficulty recognising the sensations of hunger and thirst in themselves, or simply to forget to eat and drink.
Dementia UK provides specialist dementia support for families through Admiral Nurses (specialist dementia nurses). When things get challenging or difficult for people with dementia and their families, Admiral Nurses work alongside them, giving the one-to-one support, expert guidance and practical solutions people need.
Dr Hilda Hayo, CEO and Chief Admiral Nurse at Dementia UK said: “People with dementia need a healthy and balanced diet to help to prevent dehydration, weight loss, urinary tract infections and constipation. These problems can lead to discomfort, delirium and can even make dementia symptoms worse.”
Admiral Nurses suggest:
Set the scene by creating a familiar and comfortable eating environment
Specially adapted cutlery is available for people with dementia. Using plain plates can help them see the food more easily.
Avoid overwhelming the person with dementia with too much choice
Two simple options mean the person can be involved in decision making (if appropriate). Showing the person the food you are talking about can be helpful.
Help the person with dementia recognise thirst
Keep a drink beside them at all times, and place it where it can be easily seen. Cups with nozzles or straws can be easier to manage for some people.
Eat with the person with dementia for encouragement
Eating alongside the person might encourage them to take an interest in their food, as well as providing some comfort and a sense of social connection.
To read or download the full leaflet, go to Dementia UK
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