Developing Healthy Eating Habits for Those with Dementia
Meal times can be challenging for those caring for loved ones with dementia. Resistance to once-loved foods, a lack of appetite, confusion about eating utensils, and a decline in motor skills are a few issues that many caregivers run into when attempting to find success in meal times.
There are many reasons why dementia symptoms bring difficulties during meal times. Those with dementia may not remember how to feed themselves, they may experience difficulties with swallowing, there can be confusion in the steps involved with eating, and language problems can inhibit those with dementia from expressing hunger, thirst, and fullness. When those with memory loss do not get adequate amounts of nutrition they are at higher risk for infections, immune deficiencies, and a general decline in health.
Dementia symptoms can also affect hydration levels. Loved ones may no longer be able understand that they are thirsty. Dehydration causes an increased risk of urinary tract infections, constipation, low blood pressure, as well as increased dizziness.