How to Create a Daily Nutrition Plan for Dementia Care at Home?

Introduction

Proper nutrition is extremely important for people with dementia. Poor nutrition can worsen behavioral symptoms and lead to unhealthy weight loss. As a caregiver, you play a vital role in making sure your loved one gets the right nutrients to support their health.

While people with dementia don’t need a special diet, their decreased appetite and memory issues make it harder to maintain a balanced diet. With some planning and creativity, you can ensure your loved one eats well every day.

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Include Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables

Aim for at least 5 servings of fruits and veggies at every meal. Produce provides vital antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that support brain health.

Broccoli is especially beneficial. It contains compounds that may improve memory and cognitive function. Other smart choices are berries, dark leafy greens, tomatoes, and citrus fruits. Offer a rotated variety to provide diverse nutrients.

Focus on Carbohydrates and Protein

Carbohydrates like whole grains, bread, pasta, and starchy vegetables are an important energy source. Make these the foundation of meals.

Proteins like fish, poultry, eggs, beans, lentils, and nuts are essential for maintaining muscle mass and preventing unwanted weight loss. Serve 2-3 ounces of protein with each meal.

Promote Hydration

Dementia can make people less aware of thirst. Have your loved one drink 6-8 cups of fluid daily. Offer small portions regularly. Water is best, but milk, juice, soup, smoothies, and decaf coffee/tea also contribute fluid.

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Limit Unhealthy Fats, Sugars, and Sodium

While some fats are healthy, limit saturated fats like butter and fatty meats which can raise cholesterol.

Added sugars in sweets, soda, and processed foods provide calories without nutrition. However, adding a small amount to food can sometimes boost appetite.

Excess sodium from processed foods, canned items, and table salt can increase blood pressure. Rely on herbs and spices for flavor instead.

Make Meals Enjoyable

Serve meals without distractions like TV or loud noises which can overwhelm your loved one. Allow plenty of time for chewing and swallowing.

Consider making mealtimes social occasions for conversation and companionship. This can help improve appetite.

Conclusion

Planning nutritious daily meals for a person with dementia takes effort but pays off through better health. Focus on nutrient-dense whole foods like produce, lean proteins, whole grains and healthy fats. Limit processed items high in sugar, saturated fat and sodium. Staying hydrated, eating slowly without distractions, and making mealtimes pleasant can all help ensure your loved one eats well.

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