Dementia often leads to numerous changes in older people, who often face caring relatives with difficult problems. Even eating and drinking may be disturbed in those with dementia. Those affected then usually lose much weight, which can have a negative impact on the general and health status. There are many reasons why people with dementia develop eating and drinking disorders. Many stem from the impairments of everyday abilities due to dementia. But age-related limitations of physical functions and side effects of medications can also lead to nutritional problems.
It is important for the relatives to understand the causes and behavior of the patient. Often the refusal or denial is understood as if the dementia patients do not want to eat and drink, it is mainly due to the fact that they can not. Due to the demential changes, however, it is often not possible for them to communicate the disorder or cause.
"I have already eaten"
Many elderly people with dementia lose the ability to feel hungry and thirsty. The natural signals of the body no longer control food intake. Although they have not eaten for a long time, they claim to have eaten. Here can be helped only with external stimuli. A pleasant atmosphere in which the patient feels comfortable and is not distracted by the events in the area, animates him to eat. Society, food and eating and drinking rituals cause the person concerned to eat with more appetite.
Colorful and rich in contrasts
Disorders of vision and spatial perception often lead to the dementia patient not recognizing the food and drinks. Therefore, an attractively set, well-lit table with color contrasts has a positive effect on the food. Colorful colors and beautifully presented food can arouse interest and perhaps evoke memories.
Dear sweet and greasy
Restrictions of taste and smell are accompanying effects of aging. When cooking for the elderly should therefore be spiced vigorously. In addition, dementia patients often prefer very sweet and fatty foods, but acidic and bitter foods are avoided. For some, the preference for sweets goes so far that spicy foods are completely rejected.
To make the diet as varied as possible, it can be helpful to sweeten piquant dishes. Spaghetti Bolognese with sweet sauce and cheese bread with jam may sound a bit strange to us, but the dementia may like it. Even with the drinks, the choice is rather on very sweet juices and sodas. Acid drinks and mineral water are usually rejected. In addition to the sweet and fat foods are eaten, probably because they have a more intense taste. Butter, fat-rich dairy products and cream sauces are particularly suitable for people with dementia who have already lost weight.