I saw an opportunity to raise awareness on healthy eating and in later life, which is a topic that I found myself to be heavily invested in. Nutrition is important in all stages in life but especially when trying to manage a progressive condition such as dementia. Sadly, the importance of nutrition as we get older does not get enough spotlight.
Not only have I written a blog outlining the key messages on the risks of malnourishment with dementia, I am delighted to say that I am the first blog contributor for Dominica Dementia Foundation!
You can read the full blog here:
But I've summarised the main points.
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Muscle wasting and unintentional weight loss are red alert signs for undernutrition and it’s these signs that are often experienced in people with dementia but unfortunately these signs can be overlooked. Unintentional weight loss, especially in later life, is often labelled as a natural ‘symptom’ of ageing but it may in fact be a sign of malnourishment.
This is interesting because if a child of person in their mid-30s was to start to lose a lot weight for no clear reason, they would see this as being abnormal and (would hopefully) seek medical attention. This mindset needs to be carried through into later life and especially in those who have long term conditions such as dementia.
Signs of Malnourishment
Weight loss is one of the easiest ways to spot malnourishment but there are other markers to look out for:
Identify Barriers to Good Nutrition in Dementia
These are a few questions carers and family of people who suffer from dementia can consider when trying to reduce risk of malnutrition:
Reducing risk of malnourishment in Dementia in 7 Steps
Each person should be treated with a nutritional care plan suited to their needs, requirements and behaviours.