Nutritional Challenges for Seniors with Dementia
Nutritional deficiencies are one of the many challenges that affect seniors with dementia. Everything from medications to changes in smell and taste can change the way seniors with dementia eat, but getting good nutrition is important for helping people with dementia maintain their strength and feel their best. Here is a look at some of the most common nutritional challenges that are faced by people with dementia and what can be done to help them overcome the issues.
Not Recognizing Foods
Dementia can affect a person’s ability to recognize the foods that are put in front of him or her. This can make him or her anxious about eating and resistant to eating even foods that used to be favorites. To reduce this feeling, serve foods one at a time instead of together on the same plate. Avoiding dishes with patterns can also help, since people with dementia often have difficulties with spatial and visual cues. This allows the affected person to clearly see the differences between the food and the plate.
Medications can have a significant effect on appetite. Some people with dementia take medicines that make them feel nauseous or that diminish their appetites, so eating is not appealing. Decreased appetite can also come from a lack of activity. If this is an issue, talking to the doctor about medication symptoms is the first step. Increasing daily activity can also help to spur the appetite.
Change in Sense of Smell or Taste
Smell and taste are often affected by dementia. These symptoms can be a struggle to overcome, but serving simple foods that aren’t overly seasoned can help. Be sure to pack every meal with protein, fruits, and veggies to get as much nutrition into small meals as possible.
Red Cedar Canyon Senior Living Community offers warm and supportive memory care by staff who are trained to help residents cope with all of the changes that occur with dementia. For more information about assisted living and memory care in Hudson, WI, please call (715) 381-7333.