Food for Thought: Tips for Eating with Dementia

Food for Thought: Tips for Eating with Dementia

Food is somewhat of a driving factor in our society. People work hard all day long just to put food on the table; when things go wrong in life or if someone has had a bad day, there’s comfort food for that. According to “Dementia Care Central,” for people with dementia, sitting down to eat a meal can turn into quite the frustrating ordeal, especially when dealing with declines in both mobility and memory capability. Eating is supposed to be enjoyable, but for people with dementia, it can be more of a stressor than anything else. Here are a few tips for a better dining experience for people with dementia:

  • Comfort is Key

Never let the person eat alone because having someone there means someone cares, and if someone cares, then they are prone to eat more. If there is too much noise or activity in the dining area, the person with dementia could find it difficult or upsetting to concentrate on eating. A calm environment will help the person feel at ease and comfortable in their surroundings.

  • The Simpler, the Better

Having too many food options could frustrate the person and make the experience more stressful. A meal could take up to an hour to eat, so the more food, the more time needed at the table.

  • A Helping Hand

Sometimes people with dementia may need a little refresher course on how to use a knife or fork by demonstrating how to cut up meat or spread butter on bread. But don’t baby them, they still need to be respected and made to feel like they are independent.

  • Encourage easier eating

Cut up the food in bite sized pieces or prepare soft, pureed, or finger foods to aid ineasy eating. Don’t overlook proper fluid intake either- lids and straws help with the drinking process as well.

Helpful Resources:  http://www.alz.org/living_with_alzheimers_eating.asp

Guest Blogger:  Lisa Hopkins

References:

http://www.dementiacarecentral.com/

http://www.ec-online.net/

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