Saturday, 15 October 2016
Staying Healthy - Eating Well
Eating too little or missing out on essential nutrients will reduce a person's resistance to illness and can make someone with dementia feel more confused.
If someone refuses to eat a balanced diet, the GP may suggest alternatives, or may prescribe vitamins or supplements.
Eating fatty, sugary foods can cause considerable weight gain, leading to further health problems. Eating sugary foods can cause peaks and troughs in energy levels, making mood swings worse.
If someone with dementia is eating so much that they feel uncomfortable, those around them may tactfully need to limit the amount of food available they eat, or offer low-calorie or healthy alternatives, depending on which is appropriate.
If someone with dementia forgets to eat, they may need to be accompanied at mealtimes and encouraged to eat. Having ready-made meals delivered to the home ('meals on wheels') won't help if the person forgets to eat them.
If a person is struggling to use cutlery to eat, offer foods that can be eaten without a knife and fork, i.e. finger foods.
It is very important to drink enough fluids. Dehydration is a health risk and can increase confusion in someone with dementia.
Older people should drink about 1.6 litres or six to seven glasses a day.