All our professional carers are trained in nutritional support, designed to be particularly suitable for those living with dementia.
Nutrition and Hydration are fundamental to both physical and emotional wellbeing. Dementia poses many challenges which put people at risk of dehydration and malnutrition, and a specific nutrition programme is essential.
Dementia affects the short term memory, meaning that people can no longer reliably learn new things. Thus they will rarely be able to recall new or unfamiliar food options. We use SPECAL Observational Tracking (SPOT) to monitor food options which the person will recognize and enjoy. And because it’s one-to-one care, we can specifically provide what the client most enjoys – impossible to deliver in other forms of residential care.
People living with dementia may have impaired taste sensation. Foods which seem perfectly seasoned and spiced to us may seem bland to them. We therefore seasoning and sweetness appropriately to stimulate appetite. Presentation of food is also important. Older people may be suffering with increasingly impaired eyesight, and people with dementia are no exception. Our carers are trained to pay particular consideration to the colour and presentation of the meals they prepare.
Dementia often results in increased production of oxidants, and hence an increased need for antioxidants such as Vitamin A, Beta-Carotene, and Vitamins C and E, all of which have been shown to be low in those with Alzheimer’s disease. We provide lots of fresh fruit and vegetable options – at least six portions a day – including those red/orange fruits and vegetables which are highest in antioxidants and plenty of oily fish and seeds. Where a client is not eating as much, or is at risk of malnutrition or weight loss, foods will be enriched.
Dehydration is a major concern for people with dementia. Our carers will aim to promote fluid intake of at least 2 litres per day, which can include soups, smoothies, ice-creams and fresh fruit.
Our primary concerns are always to protect the client’s sense of emotional wellbeing and then to ensure good nutritional intake, built around a client’s likes and dislikes. We do not impose a right or wrong way of eating. We will liaise with dieticians, occupational therapists and speech and language therapists, as well as GPs to ensure that the individual nutritional needs of our clients are met.