Dementia is a growing concern for Canadians; in fact, the prevalence of dementia more than doubles every five years for Canadians age 65 and older. It plays an influential role while treating seniors with dementia because the right items can improve the cognitive abilities of many seniors. Fortunately, food has the power to help seniors living with dementia.
The environment in which a person with dementia eats and the food they consume can significantly impact mealtime experiences. A positive mealtime experience can positively impact their quality of life, while the right items can influence their health. Here are some ways to help your loved one with dementia through food.
Provide Memory Care Home with a List of Foods
It might be challenging for a memory care home to cater to everyone’s specific food preferences. But, providing a list of your loved one’s favourite foods can help them supply particular meals or snacks when possible, allowing your family member to reminiscence old times and enjoy their food.
When your loved one eats familiar foods, they may feel a sense of comfort in their environment, allowing them to be happier. Some retirement homes for dementia patients in Ontario might be able to accommodate your food requests. Speak to the retirement home and arrange a way to occasionally drop off your loved one’s favourite food, if needed.
Follow the Right Nutrition Strategy
Following the right nutrition strategy can influence the cognitive functions in seniors with dementia while influencing their attention, memory, and functional capacity. Low glycemic food is beneficial for the brain, while food rich in sugar might be harmful. Food also has a way of helping seniors bond with their close ones and caregivers.
Consult your doctor to find out which foods can enhance the brain. Feeding the brain can affect the senior’s ability to remember things. The quality and type of dietary fat can affect an individual’s mental capacity. While some foods can enhance the brain, others can deteriorate cognitive functions. It is best to consume items with fatty acids, antioxidants, and a range of vitamins.Credit: pressfoto Via Freepik
Accommodate Their Changes in Food Preferences
After getting diagnosed with dementia, some people may experience changes in their food preferences and the quantity they consume. Some seniors with dementia might start enjoying new flavours or disliking foods they preferred before.
Accommodating changes in food preferences is simple when a senior indicates what food they prefer. However, the situation may get complicated if people with specific beliefs want something they wouldn’t previously have eaten. For example, an individual who didn’t eat pork before due to religious reasons may want to try it now, complicating the situation for caregivers. The best way to tackle these issues is to find alternatives if and when possible. If the senior insists on consuming the food they didn’t eat before, you could remind them about their beliefs.
It can be challenging to see your loved one live with dementia. You can do your best to help your family member by using food as a common denominator to improve their cognitive function. Taking some time to share a meal with them might also improve their wellbeing and quality of life.