The role of nutrition in dementia care – why is proper nutrition important?

Dementia care is quite complex and includes all areas of a person’s well-being. While providing care for someone living with dementia, it is important to recognise the different areas in which our residents may need assistance. People living with dementia may need assistance in areas such as daily routines, nutrition, and more.

While there is no cure for dementia, there are various interventions that can help manage its symptoms and help those living with the condition lead a healthier and happier life. 

One of the most important areas to consider while providing dementia is nutrition. It plays a vital role in the overall health and wellbeing of people, especially those living with dementia. 

As the condition progresses, people with dementia may experience a range of challenges that can affect their ability to eat and maintain a healthy diet. These challenges can include difficulty with swallowing, decreased appetite, and a lack of interest in food. As a result, individuals with dementia are at an increased risk of malnutrition and dehydration.

 

Here are a few of the ways that we help our residents with their nutritional needs here at Crouched Friars

 

Provide a balanced and varied diet:

 

The first and most important thing to consider while looking after nutrition is the diet. The diet should be balanced with healthy foods, rich in vital macros, vitamins, and minerals to promote overall health.

Try to include a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables while avoiding excessive processed foods. It is important that people living with dementia eat whole and healthy foods that help strengthen their immune system. This helps maintain overall health and well-being.

 

Provide easy-to-eat foods to encourage independence: 

 

While you should avoid feeding or fussing over food, it is good to provide people with easy-to-eat foods that they can eat independently. Some examples are sandwiches, fish sticks and cut-up fruits which they can easily pick up and eat without needing assistance. 

Such foods make mealtimes easier and less stressful.

At Crouched Friars, our chefs take great care and consideration while preparing fresh, healthy, and delicious meals for all our residents. For example in the summer we make lots of ice lollies for good hydration, and fruit salads for easy-to-eat healthy food. 

 

Be patient during mealtimes:

 

Mealtimes can get stressful but it is important to be patient so that your loved ones can get the proper nutrition they need. Allow them plenty of time to eat at their pace and assist only if necessary. 

 

Limit distractions and help them focus on the food:

 

If possible limit distractions such as loud television noises or phones around the table during mealtimes. These can distract and even overwhelm someone with dementia and they may lose focus from the food. Instead, encourage your loved ones to eat independently and focus on the food they are eating.

 

Make meals a social experience:

 

Instead of watching a television show during meals, encourage your loved ones to sit with others, family members or friends while eating. By making meals a social experience, you can help your loved ones enjoy and look forward to meals.

 

Assist with eating routines and habits:

 

People living with dementia have trouble following routines and planning their day. They may even forget to eat or forget that they have already eaten. As a caregiver, you can assist your loved ones with following a proper schedule and eating habits that will keep them healthy.

 

At Crouched Friars, our residents’ nutrition needs are one of our main priorities. We help during mealtimes and also get our residents to eat together to make it more enjoyable.

Find out more about the role of nutrition in dementia care from the experts at the Alzheimer’s Society on their website: https://www.alz.org/help-support/caregiving/daily-care/food-eating.

For more information about the services we provide at Crouched Friars, please get in touch any time by calling us at 01206 572647 or send us an email at info@crouchedfriars.co.uk

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