People with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia often experience challenges with healthy eating and drinking. Problems may initially arise from forgetfulness about mealtimes, but difficulties increase as the disease progresses. Patients can experience appetite loss due to declining interest in food or effects from medications. They may have increasing difficulty using utensils, find food less appealing, feel overwhelmed by too many food choices, or have trouble chewing or swallowing.
It is important to ensure Alzheimer’s patients are eating and hydrating properly as poor nutrition can worsen symptoms of confusion and agitation, lead to weakness and unhealthy weight loss, and increase risk of infections.
While the nutritional content of meals is important, a recent study suggests that the atmosphere in which a meal is taken can have an impact on reducing malnutrition and dehydration risk. The simple act of increasing social interaction during mealtimes appears to improve eating and drinking for people with dementia.
You can read more about this study’s findings here: