Eating a healthy meal is important.
It should always be a part of everyone’s daily life. Not least to those suffering from dementia. It’s just that a bit more effort should be considered when preparing food for a dementia patient in your household.
A person with dementia does not require special foods.
But as his condition advances, his ability to prepare food for himself is considerably diminished. He finds it too taxing to prepare his own meals due to his deteriorating cognitive function. Not to mention those mood swings that can occur anytime.
But, as his caregiver, you can help ease things for your dementia patient. Just remember the basics of nutrition. Here are at least 5 things to remember in preparing a healthy meal for the person in your care.
Feed him with a variety of foods.
Generally, older people are likely to experience constipation. And since dementia most often affects this age group, it is wise to feed your patient with more dietary fiber. Gradually increase his fiber intake so as to allow his body to adjust to it. You can get this dietary fiber from whole grain bread and cereals, vegetables, beans, and fruits.
But to make sure you are feeding him the appropriate nutrients requirement, ask his physician for his daily recommended fiber intake.
Also, give him low-fat dairy and lean protein.
Limit his consumption of high saturated fat and cholesterol.
Fried foods, fatty meats, solid shortening, butter, and lard can pose threat to his health, just as they do even to healthy people. After all, not all fats are good for the heart. High consumption of saturated fats can worsen a patients condition.
If your loved one has a dry mouth, he may have difficulty in chewing and swallowing. For this, you may add a bit of sauce or gravy to his meal. It adds flavor to the food and helps stimulates taste buds. But be careful not to add too much of sauce because it might be high in fat.
Reduce the person’s intake of refined sugars.
These foods do not contain vitamins, minerals, and fibers. Sugar is rather rich in calories. Should your patient insists to eat some sweets, however, give him fruits or juice-sweetened baked goodies instead.
Not too much salt, please.
Be aware that the ability to taste salt is one of the first lost among dementia patients. And so, they tend to overdo its use. Too much sodium intake makes the person prone to more health problems like hypertension. Instead, turn to herbs and spices for seasoning. You may also add sauces and gravy to your loved one’s meal to stimulate his taste bud. But be cautious in doing so. Although gravies and sauces can help stimulate taste buds and give extra calories and nutrition, they can also be high in fat.
Water and more water.
Make sure your loved one is not dehydrated. Remember that a dementia patient not keen on drinking enough water. It’s because his body’s signal system for thirst is no longer strong as it was before the syndrome. Be also aware that some medicines he may be taking can cause his mouth to dry.
Learn more about nutrition, weight loss among persons with dementia, and other issues. Download the e-book MisUnderstanding Dementia now. And if you wish to talk about certain dementia behaviors, please contact me. I would be glad to answer your questions and share my personal experiences in caregiving for dementia patients.