April 27, 2018
On This Week’s Menu: Memory Care Meals

Dementia has a direct impact on patient weight and nutrition

Check out top industry trends for enhancing the dining experience
On This Week’s Menu:
Memory Care Meals

There’s no denying the many multifaceted issues we face when caring for patients with late-stage dementia and Alzheimer’s. Among those challenges is the problem of food. Residents osten outnumber their attendants, resulting in an all-around chaotic dining experience. Staff find themselves scattered about the room as diners are rushed to finish eating. This is a far cry from the one-on-one support and socialization residents crave.

If you’ve ever felt stressed over mealtime pandemonium at your facility, you’re not alone. Researchers have found significant links between dementia, patient weight loss and under-nutrition. The statistics give great insight into how this correlation translates in the LTC setting.

 

 

Winning the Weight-Loss Battle

Facilities across the United States are starting to fight back against this debilitating dementia problem through the use of ‘dining clubs’ and other creative mealtime initiatives. Having formed her own program over a year ago, Karen Haedo, Director of Nursing at CBV, says, “Now, music plays in the background, conversation and laughter fill the room, and non-nursing volunteers offer companionship.”

To ensure residents receive proper nutritional supplementation and a positive mealtime experience, browse the following tips taken from the industry’s top success stories in dementia dining. Making small procedural and staffing changes can make a huge difference in the quality of care and general comfort of your facility.

Dining Trend Checklist
for better memory care meals

 

All hands on deck – Whether you bring in trained volunteers or assign more staff to the hours during breakfast, lunch and dinner, it’s important to prioritize people. More help equals less stress and confusion for diners.

Stimulate self-feeding – Empower residents by building menus around their changing skillsets. Ideas include simplifying utensils, integrating finger foods and creating color contrast against the plate and table surface.

Bring on the Zen – Strive to create a calm, peaceful environment where light socialization can take place. Many clients show significant improvement in eating habits when dining in a relaxed atmosphere.

Do better breakfast – As busy workers, we osten overlook the importance of early meals. For residents with Alzheimer’s, breakfast is an optimal time to load up on calories, since people tend to be most alert in the morning.

Pay attention to flavor – Taste buds are bound to lose their sensitivity with age. Keep this in mind when serving older diners, and encourage food preparers to over-season food whenever possible to heighten enjoyment.