Eating well and staying properly hydrated is an important aspect of staying healthy – it improves quality of life and contributes to overall health. It is even more so important when it comes to dementia care.
Not eating well/enough can cause
- Weight loss
- Higher risk of infection
- Less muscle strength
This is a common problem amongst dementia patients. Often they can forget to eat, not be able to recognise hunger or not be able to effectively communicate to their care provider that they’re hungry.
Another common problem that affects people with dementia is dehydration. This is similar to the reasoning behind not eating enough. The inability to communicate when thirsty, inability to recognise thirst or simply forgetting to drink water can cause many problems. When a person with dementia becomes dehydrated, they can often experience headaches, increased confusion, urinary tract infections, constipation or overall worsening symptoms of dementia.
The risk of malnutrition and dehydration increase as dementia progresses. Poor nutritional intake and not drinking enough fluids can contribute to the development and severity of delirium (similarly known as acute confessional state).
Because some people with dementia have a hard time communicating – food and drink should be available and visible throughout the day. This way, people with dementia can eat or drink whenever they feel hungry or thirsty.
A GP or a care provider can refer someone with dementia to a dietician if there are concerns about their overall health and well-being. The dietician can then complete a nutritional assessment and make recommendations based on the person’s concerns; whether they are about weight loss, weight gain or malnutrition.
For any enquiries please contact The Hollies directly on 01453 541400 or firstname.lastname@example.org