People who are diagnosed with dementia experience many big and small changes as their symptoms progress. One surprising change is in their taste buds. Since they don’t seem to experience flavor the way they once did, people with dementia often change their eating habits and adopt entirely new food preferences. With these changes in eating habits, packing enough nutrients into your loved one’s meals can be a challenge. Here are some tips to help you along:
• Focus on Protein: People can’t chew meat as well when they age, and their stomachs don’t break down protein as well either, but protein is vital for healing and staying healthy. This is why it is important to find good sources of protein. Try offering your loved one with dementia some custard, pudding, or liquid supplements. You can also try adding protein powder, available at medical supply stores. Add a scoop of mashed potatoes and your loved one won’t even know it’s in there.
• Sneak in Vegetables: Feeding dementia patients vegetables can be a challenge. Try pureeing them so that they are easier to eat. Taking vitamin and mineral supplements is also important.
• Make meals a social event: Everyone likes to eat socially, including people with dementia. You will probably have more success of having your loved one eat a healthy meal if he or she is not eating alone.
• At the end of life, give in without worry: If your loved one is in the end-of-life stage, it is probably alright to let him or her eat sweets or any other foods he or she wants. On the other hand, if your loved one still has many years ahead of him or her, you will have to take more care to ensure that he or she is getting the proper nutrition.
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