Wednesday Workshop – Proper Nutrition for People with Dementia
Hello and welcome to our Wednesday Workshop. People with dementia experience many changes as a result of their condition. One surprising change is in a dementia patient’s taste buds. Because they don’t experience flavor the way they once did, people with dementia often change their eating habits and adopt entirely new food preferences.
Our taste tends to diminish as we age. Although, research has found that dementia patients have trouble identifying flavors and may lose the ability to remember tastes, which can lead to changes in eating behaviors.
For a caregiver, packing enough nutrients into a loved one’s meals can be a challenge, but there are ways to do it, for example:
- Focus on protein.
People can’t chew meat as well when they are older (especially if they have dentures) and their stomachs don’t break down protein as well, but protein (along with vitamins and minerals) is vital for healing and staying healthy.
Try offering custard (which is made with eggs), pudding (which contains milk), or liquid supplements such as Ensure. You can also find therapeutic ice creams, such as Magic Cup, that have added protein, vitamins, and minerals, at some drug stores or medical suppliers.
Another option is to add protein powder, available at medical supply stores. Put a scoop in mashed potatoes or shakes — your loved one won’t even know it’s there.
- Sneak in vegetables.
Feeding dementia patients vegetables is definitely a struggle. Puree vegetables so that they’re easier to eat — or drink when added to a shake. Taking vitamin and mineral supplements is also very important.
- Make meals a social event.
We all like to eat socially, including people who have dementia. You’ll probably have more success at getting your loved one to eat a healthy meal if he/she doesn’t eat alone.
To learn more or to speak with us here at the Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center
Feel free to call us at (877) 760-9199 or email us below. Thanks for watching today’s Wednesday Workshop and we’ll see you again next week!