Maintaining A Good Diet For People With Dementia
Maintaining a good diet for people with dementia is important. The onset of the disease often affects the person’s ability to eat but it is still vital in improving their health and overall well-being.
Causes of Poor Appetite.
Early stages of dementia can cause communication difficulties, make people tired and cause depression. This can affect appetite and the desire to prepare and eat a balanced diet. Some types of dementia can affect the swallowing reflex alongside some conditions associated with ageing such as a narrowing of the oesophagus.
Long-term complications can result from not eating a healthy diet so maintaining a good diet for people with dementia needs to be a priority. The good news is there are ways you can help. Encouraging loved ones to eat foods they enjoy and that they find easy to eat will help them benefit from the nutrients and calories they need. People with dementia, like most of us, are more likely to want to eat food that looks and smells good.
Involve Them in Food Preparation.
It is difficult to feel hungry sometimes without the stimulus of seeing or smelling food. How many times have you not felt hungry and watched a cooking programme on TV only to suddenly find yourself starving? People with dementia, especially during the early stages need to feel useful and involved in day-to-day activities including food preparation. Involving loved ones in the preparation of meals also helps to boost their self-esteem and boosts their overall well-being. They can still help to prepare and chop vegetables and set the table which they may find relaxes them.
For all of us, a Mediterranean diet is the ideal one to follow. Research has repeatedly shown that a Mediterranean-style diet is healthiest for people living with dementia.
Typically, people from regions who eat this diet outlive those from elsewhere in the world. They also suffer from far fewer strokes. Foods including fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meat and olive oil have been found to lower cholesterol and improve health. This helps people live healthier lives and avoid cardio-vascular disease which is linked to dementia. Studies have also shown that foods such as fish – which contains high levels of omega-3 – can help boost the memory so could have significant benefits for people living with dementia.