For people with dementia, maintaining a healthy and balanced diet can be difficult. People often feel less like eating for a number of reasons. Food might not taste the same as it used to, or sometimes it can be physically hard to eat because of pain or reduced motor skills and coordination. Depression is also common, meaning that meal times and food lose their appeal.
When communication becomes difficult, the only way to express the fact that food is too hot, too cold, hard to eat, or just doesn’t taste right may be to leave it. And not eating or eating the wrong things could make a condition worse. While there is no conclusive proof, there is a growing body of evidence to say that a healthy diet, low in salt and saturated fats, and high in antioxidants and Omega-3s can help slow the onset of dementia.
Dementia and Nutrition
There are many things that can be done to encourage people with dementia to eat and drink more and the Alzheimer’s Society has some excellent information on its website. We use many of these techniques at Sherborne House, which specialises in dementia care.
Overall, we aim to reconnect people with the enjoyment of food and eating. Partly this is through the design of the eating environment so that mealtimes are calm and as free of distractions as possible. We also encourage residents to engage with their food by preparing healthy sandwiches and fruit salads and by baking cakes. These are fun, social activities that help to associate food with positive emotions and thoughts, rather than being a source of anxiety or conflict.
The positive culture around eating not only stimulates appetites, it helps residents feel more confident and in control of their lives. Discussions about food can also stimulate reminiscence and maintain sensory abilities.
On the one hand eating and drinking can be a challenging aspect of dementia care, but they can also be therapeutic and encourage greater engagement with other people and enjoyment of life.
Why not come and see for yourself what life at Sherborne House is like? Contact us today on 01305 300 161 to arrange a visit.
Understanding how to care and support a person suffering from Dementia can be a challenge. Dementia is the umbrella term for a wide range of symptoms linked with the decline of memory to a level which then affects a person’s ability to independently function as they once did. The most common form of Dementia is Alzheimer’s Disease but there are also many other forms of dementia which are less common but display similar symptoms and will have similar effects upon the person suffering.
Living with dementia can have a big emotional, social, psychological and practical impact on a person especially as the disease develops. Forgetting short term memories and finding themselves very confused can upset, frustrate and anger someone suffering. In some cases their long term memories will be their strongest and nostalgic environments, pictures and music can be the triggers to open them up.
As the disease develops and the person begins to forget more this can affect:
• Social ability
• Independent abilities and skills – at the beginning this could include driving and cooking but as the disease is progressive can develop to feeding themselves and controlling bodily functions
Despite the biggest impact being on the person suffering from this disease, their carer’s, family and friends will also face a huge challenge adapting to support and care. This video portrays one man’s struggles coming to terms with how his wife has changed from suffering with Alzheimer’s Disease. Often families wish to keep their loved one at home for as long as possible, in familiar surroundings, where they can care for them. But as a progressive disease it often comes to a point where professional care is required in the form of a specialist care home.
It can be difficult to choose which care home will be most beneficial to your loved ones care needs. Altogether Care’s specialist dementia care home is Sherborne House. Person-centred care is principle in our philosophy, believing that those living with Dementia who are well supported by a professional team giving them their time and energy are more likely to lead fulfilling lives for longer. Sherborne House has been furnished and decorated with Dementia in mind, incorporating sensory touches and memory triggers that research has shown really benefits the cognitive process. Clinical care is supported with a healthy diet, using fresh ingredients and menus to suit all tastes and requirements and at times we will also call upon various alternative therapies such as; physiotherapy, reflexology Reiki and aroma-therapy to complement clients care needs.
We understand how difficult it can be to entrust a care home with a loved one who you have watched suffer from the changes of Dementia which is why we offer you to spend the day with us to really get a feel for our homes.
To find out more about the tailored care that we can offer you, get in touch 01305 300 161.