The Connection Between Dementia and Loss of Appetite

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Coping with the death of a family member

Allow Yourself to Grieve

One of the most important things you can do when faced with the death of a loved one is to allow yourself to grieve. You may experience shock, anger, sadness, and can even feel lost or helpless. This is normal, but it is necessary to express these feelings because keeping them in will only lessen your ability to cope.

Talk to your family and friends about what you are feeling. It is likely that they are feeling the same emotions as you and talking about it will help you cope and find closure. Talking about your loved one after their death is also a great way to honor their memory and help you appreciate the moments you had with them. There are other ways to honor them as well, including donating to their favorite charities, planting a tree in their memory, or spending time with family to share stories and reminisce with photos of fun times. These kinds of activities, while they may seem difficult, will help you find closure and acceptance.

When you experience the death of a family member, you will be filled with many emotions and may also be required to do things like make funeral arrangements or work with their estate planners to carry out their final will. During this time, it is imperative that you take care of yourself and not neglect your needs – eat well, get plenty of rest, and try to continue doing the things that bring you joy. Whether this is exercise or spending time with friends, this will help you cope and keep a level head while dealing with other responsibilities.

MEDIA INQUIRIES

If you’re a relative or a caregiver of a person living with dementia, it’s important to keep an eye out for changes in their appetite and their overall relationship with food. 

Why?

Because a loss of interest in food is common for people living with dementia. There are several reasons why this happens.

Forgetfulness:
Because of the short-term memory loss associated with dementia, they may simply forget to eat. 

Decreased physical activity:
Older people in general are vulnerable to an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, which doesn’t include enough movement and activity to properly stimulate the appetite. 

Communication difficulties:
As dementia advances, it affects the ability to speak and use language, making it difficult to express hunger and food preferences. 

Issues with vision:
Eyesight tends to get worse as we get older, and this process is often accelerated in people with dementia. They have difficulty with their peripheral vision as well as things that are directly in their line of sight. It’s possible that they may not be able to see their plate to be able to eat off it.

How to plan mealtimes for people with dementia

An important aspect of caring for someone with dementia is “meeting them where they are,” and adjusting your interactions accordingly. You can help make mealtimes a more pleasant experience by taking some time to create a calm, relaxing environment and preparing meals in a way that is easier for a person with dementia to eat and enjoy. 

Turn off the TV and radio and eliminate other loud noises Play some calming music at a discreet volume Set the table simply (clutter can cause confusion)Serve small portions of familiar, favored foods Serve only two to three foods at a time (too much choice can be overwhelming)Allow up to an hour for the mealtime

Get more support for dementia care

Caring for someone with dementia can be a challenging and isolating experience. We can help you stay connected and provide you with the resources you need. Contact us today for more information.

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