HOW DEMENTIA CAN IMPACT EATING HABITS

Elderly Women

If you are considering senior home care services for a loved one with dementia, you may be wondering how you can improve the person’s eating habits. Dementia can cause poor appetite, cognitive impairment, and sensory disabilities, which can all affect her eating habits.

Poor Appetite

There are many reasons why a person with dementia may turn away from food. Depression is commonly seen in dementia sufferers and is associated with loss of appetite, or the person may have trouble communicating that they dislike a particular food, or she may be in pain or uncomfortable. Also, a lack of physical activity throughout the day can result in less hunger. To combat these issues, look for opportunities to encourage the person to eat, make food look and smell appealing, offer regular snacks over the course of the day and encourage her to help with meal choice and preparation.

Cognitive Issues

A person with dementia may have trouble recognizing food and drink which can lead to a missed meal. The damage that dementia causes to the brain may cause unfamiliar food or meals that are presented in a new way not to be seen as edible. Additionally, a lack of concentration is typical in dementia sufferers and can lead the person to be distracted from her meal and to leave it unfinished.

Sensory Issues

Some people with dementia lose their ability accurately gauge the temperature of their food and can end up burning their mouths, lips, tongue, or throat. Also, thirst sensations change with age, and this can affect those with dementia as well. Because they may not realize they’re thirsty, the person can quickly become dehydrated. To ensure that someone suffering from dementia drinks enough, always have a beverage on hand when she is eating, keep drinks nearby or in sight, offer both hot and cold drinks throughout the day, and use cups that are easy to handle.

Endeavor Senior In-Home Care provides quality in-home assistance near Mesa, AZ. To learn how our home care assistance staff can help seniors with dementia, call us today at (877) 584-6162.

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