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Eating well with Dementia – raising awareness for carers during Dementia awareness week

05 June 2018

Lynne Stevenson picture smallLynne Stevenson, Dietitian and External Affairs Advisor, Nutricia Advanced Medical Nutrition blogs for carers about dementia and diet and about the resources available to help carers support the diet of a person with dementia.

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 can occur can make eating and drinking more difficult. Depending on the individual, these changes can result in dehydration, weight loss or weight gain.

In some cases a person living with dementia may lose weight unintentionally due to a variety of reasons including poor appetite, a change in food preference, co-ordination problems and chewing and swallowing problems.

Some tips to encourage a person to eat

  • Be flexible around times of meals
  • Offer small snacks and meals more often and throughout the day
  • Taste preferences may change so offer food enjoyed in the past as well as new foods
  • Sweet or spicy food may be favoured so try adding honey to vegetables or sweet sauces to meat dishes
  • Finger foods can be eating more easily if co-ordination is difficult
  • Chewing and swallowing problems may become more apparent so it is important to speak to a GP who be able to make a referral to a speech and language therapist who can carry out an assessment and provide help with managing any difficulties.

Carers UK and Carers Scotland in partnership with NutriciNutrition leaflets picture
a have developed a range of resources on the importance of good nutrition within long term conditions, including dementia. For more hints and tips on how people living with dementia can enjoy meal times and get the best from their diet, please refer to “Eating well with Dementia” guide here 

It is important that those at risk of malnutrition are identified early and managed appropriately. There are various tools and resources now available to help sign post individuals and Health Care Professionals to identify the risk of malnutrition, and what to do to manage it.

Learn more through the e-learning module here

For more information email:
Lynne Stevenson, Dietitian and External Affairs Advisor, Nutricia Advanced Medical Nutrition, 

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