Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are on the rise, which also leads to an increase in mealtime challenges. As cognitive function declines in residents with Alzheimer’s, it can affect how and when they eat. They may even forget to eat altogether, become overwhelmed by crowded dining spaces and too many choices and/or have difficulty using cups and utensils.
There are many things that you can do to help those with Alzheimer’s and Dementia have fulfilling dining experiences that provide adequate nutrition.
• You may need to redirect residents into a more quiet atmosphere for meals or try multiple dining opportunities throughout the day.
• Try to have familiar objects around that can clue them into the dining experience.
• Finger foods are a great, easy-to-eat option that even allow residents to eat and move at the same time if they like to stay moving.
• Try placing only one food in front of them at a time.
• Add seasonings to increase the sensations of taste and smell.
Here are some great resources from Martin Bros. to assist you with providing dining for Dementia patients, available in the Downloads section under Resources on www.martinsmart.com.
• Dementia Toolkit offers many valuable resources such as a dining audit to evaluate your eating environments, meal service and assistance.
• Chef-created Flavorful Finger Foods Guide highlights easy-to-assemble, handheld menu masterpieces.
• High-Nutrient Smoothies Steps & Concoctions provides ideas for alternatives to traditional supplements.