Eating and drinking in dementia - nutrition tips


In people with severe dementia, the taste and smell of food and drink can evoke memories of once popular dishes and traditions. The aroma of coffee for breakfast, the scent of freshly baked waffles or sautéed bacon with onions revives earlier times and often arouses the appetite. Even the dishes rattling in the food preparation is a familiar sound. For this reason, let your relatives with dementia participate as often as possible in everyday life and, at least temporarily, try to bring it back to our world through familiar smells and sounds.

New table manners

Eating with knife and fork is the most natural thing in the world for us. People with advanced dementia, on the other hand, often perceive cutlery as a threat. Also, they often do not know the function to interpret correctly. They simply grip with their fingers. Surely everyone is piqued and uncomfortable about it at first. But many people keep their mouths closed when the fork or spoon approaches. In these cases, give help in handling the cutlery.

If this does not work, just let the food go with your fingers. It is best to prepare food that can be eaten well with your fingers, so-called "finger food". For example, croquettes, vegetable sticks, fish fingers and meatballs are easy to eat with your fingers. This relaxes the table situation, it is not messed up and blabbed.

as far as your feet take you

Due to the urge to move and the inner rest, dementia patients consume sometimes considerable amounts of energy. Constant shifting of the furniture, endless running around, but also the stereotypical screaming and groaning increase the energy requirement. Especially with the additional disturbances when eating and drinking, it can quickly lead to weight loss and malnutrition. Therefore, the food and drinks should be as energetic as possible.

How to bring more calories to your plate!

  • Refine sauces, soups and casseroles with cream or creme fraiche.
  • Add butter or vegetable oil to vegetable dishes.
  • Use cream quark and cream yoghurt.
  • Provide nibbles for in between, eg. Biscuits, nuts and cheese snacks.
  • Prepare high-calorie milkshakes, eg. B. of pureed fruits, cream, quark and sugar.
  • With heavy weight loss, energy and nutrient-rich drinking foods from the pharmacy can be helpful. They come in many different flavors and they can be used well as a snack.

Adjust the personal environment

Consider the variety of behavioral changes that the person concerned can no longer adapt to his environment, but the personal environment must be adapted to the sick. If this is recognized, dealing with dementia patients is often easier and some conflict situations are bypassed. It also makes eating and drinking easier for many and makes fun even in old age.

Recommended reading / Lesetipp

  • German Alzheimer Society e. V. (2004) Nutrition in Home Care for Dementia Patients.
  • aid infodienst Consumer Protection, Nutrition, Agriculture e. V., German Society for Nutrition (ed.): Nutrition in old age - Guide for relatives and caregivers.
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