When a loved one is diagnosed with dementia, it’s natural to want to do everything in your power to help them. One of the most important things you can do for a person with dementia is ensuring they’re getting proper nutrition. Good nutrition can help reduce dementia symptoms and improve brain function and overall health. Let’s take a closer look at how nutrition affects dementia patients and some tips for meal planning.
How Nutrition Affects People with Dementia
Dementia is a degenerative disease that causes deterioration of the brain. This deterioration can lead to problems with memory, thinking, and behaviour. While there is no cure for dementia, good nutrition can help slow its progression and improve brain function. Certain nutrients are especially important for people with dementia. These include omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, antioxidants, and healthy fats. Omega-3 fatty acids help protect against cognitive decline and improve brain function. B vitamins are essential for cell metabolism and energy production. Antioxidants help reduce inflammation and protect cells from damage. Healthy fats are important for maintaining cell membranes and supporting nerve function.
Tips for Meal Planning
Knowing how to best support a loved one with dementia can be tough through diet. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when meal planning:
Choose nutrient-rich foods
Focus on whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, low-fat dairy, and healthy fats.
Consider dietary restrictions
If your loved one has diabetes or heart disease, there may be certain foods they need to avoid or limit. Make sure to talk to their doctor about dietary restrictions before making meals.
Due to cognitive decline, some people with dementia may have trouble chewing or swallowing food. Stick to soft foods that are easy to chew and cut into small pieces to make mealtime easier.
Stimulate the senses
People with dementia often lose their sense of taste or smell. To make food more enjoyable, focus on presenting meals attractively and using strong flavours like spices or herbs.
It can be helpful to cook extra food so you have leftovers for future meals. You can also make big batches of soup or casserole that can be frozen in individual servings. Planning will make mealtimes less stressful for both you and your loved one.
Nutrition at Livewell Estates
Proper nutrition is vital for our residents living with dementia. As a specialised dementia care facility, we ensure our residents get the nourishment they need. Meals are also tailored to our resident’s unique requirements and preferences. You won’t find our residents eating repetitive meals that were mass-produced. Our dedicated team of nutritionists, cooks and kitchen staff strive to make meals just the way our residents like them, while always bearing in mind the benefits of a healthy, balanced diet. “We know the people that we are working with, so we understand them very well. We know what they like.” – Livewell Chef.