Effective nutrition care tips for the elderly with dementia

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Dementia is a fancy illness, persistent and progressive in nature, wherein cognitive capabilities reminiscent of pondering, remembering, reasoning and behavioural skills deteriorate. Due to this loss, an individual’s every day life and actions are affected, and this adversely impacts not solely the particular person, but additionally the caregiver, stated Neha Sinha, CEO and co-founder, Epoch Elder Care and dementia specialist

“Eat well, eat right; we have all heard this so many times during our childhood, and irrespective of age, good nutrition is vital for one’s overall health. However, as dementia progresses, feeding and maintaining nutritional status becomes challenging. Patients may forget to eat, get overwhelmed with too many things on the thali or may find difficulty in verbalising dental issues or mouth ulcers. In the later stages, when chewing and swallowing becomes difficult, caregivers struggle to maintain the balance between appetite and food texture,” she added.

Maintaining good bodily well being and weight is a large side of excellent stage administration in dementia. The presence of a number of comorbidities, particularly diabetes, the place restrictions on food regimen or treatment consumption would want fixed reminders and explanations makes it much more difficult. “It is important to provide a balanced diet, avoid high fat and cholesterol heavy diets, cut down on processed food as well as sugar intake. Adding green leafy vegetables and following the Mediterranean diet of fish, cereals, fruits and olive oil have also shown promising results in reducing further risk,” she instructed indianexpress.com.

Apart from managing nutrition, planning meals and mealtimes can be an essential side of dementia care. Sinha stated that if the elder begins resisting meals or consuming poorly there could also be multiple causes concerned. “Start with eliminating distractions around meal times – noisy backgrounds and loud conversations can add to their confusion. Lack of physical activity, poor dentures and side effects of medication can all be contributors to reduced appetite. They may also reach a stage where they may not be able to recognise food or poor colour coding of crockery (white rice on white plate) can further perplex them,” she defined.

It is essential to keep up independence in feeding for so long as attainable. Though it might want a substantial quantity of assist and time to facilitate, it’s important for the elder’s dignity and respect. It is a good suggestion to pre-portion/pre-mix their meals, put together shorter meals as per their likes and dislikes and garnish meals to make it look engaging particularly semi-solid meals like khichdi. “Always sample their food before you serve since they may not be able to give feedback on the taste. Also, opt for more sturdy cutlery and handles which they will find easier to hold. Always keep some food handy, in case they want to eat in the middle of the day (or night) rather than convincing them they have already eaten,” she instructed.

Elders with dementia are additionally at an elevated threat of dehydration, which ends up in co-morbidities like Urinary Tract Infection, or complications and this may occasionally lead to agitated behaviour. One must encourage fluid consumption which could possibly be sips of plain or flavoured water all through the day; give vegatables and fruits with excessive water content material or just whip up fruit smoothies or juices.

“For a member of the family, managing meals at a eating desk with a beloved one who has dementia will be demanding. Have endurance and don’t hurry the elderly throughout meals — give all of them the time they want. Since the particular person might lack judgement, be certain that the temperature of the meals or liquids reminiscent of dal, soups is reasonable, not boiling sizzling (or ice-cold). Eating collectively with them can even encourage emotions of togetherness and should even act as a very good appetiser!

“Involving elders (with or without dementia) in preparing goodies for festivals together is always a great idea! Simply rolling laddoos or filling the gujiya maker, can not only help bring back fond memories but also act as great motor activity,” she stated.

Last however not least in the present occasions of pandemic, work in the direction of constructing elder’s immunity with herbs and condiments reminiscent of ginger, garlic, jeera, turmeric and tulsi. Offer things like a part of a routine diligently they usually might do wonders, stated Sinha.

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