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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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Margaret Hart
10th Jul 2018
0
Thanks for voting!
I believe a good healthy diet is essential for everyone no matter what the problem barring of course anything you may be allergic to.. if the dementia is well advanced it may be a good idea to try to give them food which they recognise which may be good but plainer food with especially some home made dishes which could spark the memory. Always be willing to keep up to date and if any new food is advised to be of particular benefit then it could be good to try to feed a sufferer that even if it has to be disguised as something else. There are already many things recommended but perhaps people need a little more proof of their effectiveness but should definitely keep an open mind. The best advise anyone can give is probably patience but it not easy if it appears someone is winding you up - they’re not it’s even harder for the sufferer. I hope our wonderful scientists soon find a cure but until then make the best of the things which have been discovered to slow things down by getting help early and don’t wait until you have to see a doctor, see one when you first suspect a change.

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