How Dementia Can Affect Eating

How Dementia Can Affect Eating

Written by Deepak Bhagat, In Health, Published On
April 4, 2022
, 115 Views
Last modified on May 12th, 2022

Do you have a parent or loved one who has recently been diagnosed with dementia? Are you in the process of learning all there is to know about the disease so that you can provide them with the support needed? As you pour through all the information, one area you may want to focus on is how dementia can affect eating. It’s something that isn’t always discussed yet it can cause a real problem. Let’s take a look at the specifics and some tips on how to deal with potential eating issues.

How Dementia Can Affect Eating

  • Food They Used to Love May Not Be Recognizable

A common issue that can happen is that common food the person used to love and get excited about may become unrecognizable to them. They don’t remember loving the item, nor do they remember what it is. This causes a lack of interest at meal times, making it difficult to convince the person to eat.

  • Remembering to Eat Three Meals a Day

Also in terms of memory, your parent or loved one may not remember if they have eaten, when they ate last or that they need to eat at all. This is why a daily schedule and routine are so important. You can even write down the routine in a place that your loved one can view.

  • Medication Can Cause a Loss In Appetite

Should the person be on medication, this too can negatively affect their appetite. It may make a person lose their appetite and even a change in dosage can have a significant effect on them.

  • Make the Meal Look Appealing

Did you know you can help to spark interest in eating by how you display food on the plate? Making it appear visually interesting can help in a big way. Experts recommend always using contrasting colors with the placemat, dishes and then food itself. You never want colors to blend; instead, the food needs to stand out, and the plate needs to stand out from the table. In other words, everything needs to pop independently.

  • Chewing and Swallowing Can Become a Problem

As a person’s dementia progresses, it may reach the point where chewing and swallowing becomes an issue. This can cause weight loss since they won’t be eating their usual amount and getting the recommended nutrients.

This is when you may need to prepare meals differently. A beverage thickener can be used to tweak pureed and blended items to ensure they are the exact right thickness. You don’t want anything thick and lumpy, but at the same time, the consistency shouldn’t be too thin. Products such as SimplyThick thickener can be a helpful tool in meal preparation for those with swallowing issues.

  • Eliminate Distractions at Meal-Time

The final piece of advice is to eliminate all distractions at meal-time especially if you are having a hard time getting your loved one to eat. All focus needs to be on the meal, not on the television, other people in the room, and other such distractions.

All of these tips will help you to support your loved ones and ensure they receive a healthy and nutritious diet even if dementia is affecting their eating habits.

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