A healthy and balanced diet is essential for our physical and mental health. Food is also an important part of an individual’s life. Many of our favourite experiences and memories involve preparing and sharing food with family and friends. The experience of Dementia can have a big effect on ‘usual’ eating habits. As a result, getting the correct nutrition through food can sometimes be difficult. This can lead to under-eating resulting in weight loss, or over-eating, causing weight gain. This article aims to aid care-givers and family members make meal-time as comfortable and nutritious for the person they are caring for.
People living with Dementia may experience problems with eating and drinking. These problems may stem from the following:
It is common for the person who is living with dementia to deny or not admit
that they are having problems and also that they are experiencing issues with
their memory and with other day to day living aspects of their lives.
While this denial is normal it can cause problems for their family and for their
future health. A continued denial could mean delays in starting up medication
and continuing doing things that they are no longer able to do as it may not be
safe now such as driving, being on their own and cooking. Also a person living
with dementia will most likely be unable to recognise or want to see a decline
in their own health or changes in their behaviour and personality.
As we get older, it is important to keep ourselves physically active. Maintaining regular physical activity is one of the best things we can do to keep ourselves healthy and maintain our quality of life as we get older. Talk to a health professional before starting a physical activity programme to identify your limits.
Activities can range from stretching, doing some garden work, washing the car to lifting weights or engaging in yoga or tai chi. There are lots of ways to build activities into your daily routine. For example, you could do some activities while you wait for the kettle to boil or while the TV ads are on.
You may be at risk of falling if you:
Talk to your GP if you feel you make be at risk- many falls can be prevented
One of the most difficult things to hear about dementia is that, in most cases, dementia is irreversible and incurable. However, with early diagnosis and proper care, the progression of some forms of dementia can be managed and slowed down. The cognitive decline that accompanies dementia conditions does not happen all at once - the progression of dementia can be divided into seven distinct, identifiable stages.
Learning about the stages of dementia can help with identifying signs and symptoms early on, as well as assisting sufferers and caretakers in knowing what to expect in further stages. The earlier dementia is diagnosed, the sooner treatment can start.