Diet, Nutrition and Dementia
How Dementia Can Affect Nutrition
- Poor or increased appetite
- Forgetting the purpose of eating or forgetting you have already eaten
- Chewing and swallowing problems
- Changes in food preferences
- Co-ordination problems
- Increased/decreased energy levels
- Difficulty in holding cutlery and cups
- Difficulty in distinguishing food on the plate
- Mouth pain
Carers instinctively understand the connection of eating well and being well but sometimes need more specific information about nutritional care and dementia. When the person you care for eats well and enjoys their food, it can make you feel good. When the person you care for is not eating well, it can be a worry and you might feel guilty.
Many people living with dementia may experience a change in their relationship with food, eating and drinking. As dementia progresses, the behavioural, emotional and physical changes that occur can make eating and drinking more difficult. Depending on the individual, these changes can result in dehydration, weight loss or weight gain. As a carer, this can be upsetting and you may find it reassuring to understand how you can help the person you care for to eat and drink well. There are some simple ways that you can help a person with dementia to enjoy meal times and get the best from their diet. Read more about Dementia and Nutrition. Eating Well with Dementia A Carer’s Guide has useful tips on supporting the person with dementia to eat well.
Come Dine with me Experience
Bield Housing offer Come Dine with Me experiences to help people with dementia, carers, family and friends enjoy the experience of eating out together. These experiences are available at Mary’s Kitchen in Kirkintilloch and at Wee Betty’s Bistro in Milngavie. They are a series of monthly dining sessions where staff from Bield are on hand to serve food from a special menu in the centres’ dining rooms, they can also assist with personal care needs if required. You can bring your own bottle, the service is free but most people who use the service make a small donation.
Caring for a friend or relative can be hugely rewarding, but at times it can also be tiring and stressful. Carers often put their own needs last. Amongst the day-to-day challenges of looking after someone else it can be easy to forget about your own health needs. As a carer, eating a balanced diet is essential to provide your body with all the nutrients it needs. A balanced diet will keep your body strong and give you enough energy to provide the best care for the person you are caring for and yourself. Read more about Eating Well from Carers UK, and don’t forget to look after yourself too!