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Nutrition & Safety in Dementia Care
Dementia can affect anyone, at any age, it does not discriminate. It is, however, more common in those over the age of 65. Currently in the UK, there are over 850,000 people living with a form of dementia, expected to rise to over one million by 2025. One of the most problematic issues when it comes dementia care is that everyone will experience the condition differently.
Meaning there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to caring for someone with the condition. Although no sweeping set of processes can be put in place to guarantee care for everyone, there are measures that can be implemented to ensure residents receive a nutritious and safe dining experience.
Dementia can cause a change in residents’ relationship with food and they may struggle to eat for a variety of reasons, such as a change in food preferences, a reduced appetite or mobility and coordination problems. These changes can all lead to weight loss. As a leading expert in nutritious and delicious food for older people, apetito work in partnership with care homes to cater for every dietary requirement, providing reassurance and peace of mind that residents are eating well. Snack stations, finger foods and beverage facilities can aid the eating process. Energy dense meals provided in a smaller portion are a way of ensuring residents receive the required nutrients. As a thought leader in the sector, apetito is also a vital source of knowledge to care homes, working with experts in the field to provide advice on everything from dietetics and nutrition to dementia care.
As dementia progresses into the advanced or severe stages, individuals may experience oral deficits which cause dysphagia, an increasingly common complaint in residents living with dementia. Mealtimes can be increasingly stressful for someone with dysphagia and dementia as they may become confused by the texture modified food and can worry about risk of choking. Moulded texture-modified meals are a great solution to providing appealing, nutritiously balanced meals that also reduce the risk of choking. Suppliers, such as apetito, offer a wide range of texture-modified meals appropriate for all levels of swallowing difficulties and all dietary requirements.
Providing a supportive dining environment plays a crucial part in aiding residents to live and eat well and is an important first step in creating a safe and nutritious dining experience. Research suggests the design of the environment in which food is served to those living with dementia, can influence their nutritional intake and overall enjoyment of food, centred around the sensory experience.