Report shows under nutrition is a major problem for people with dementia.
Research reviewed in the international report finds that 20-45 percent of people in the community with dementia experience weight loss that could affect their general health, over a one year period. It also shows that up to half of people with dementia in care homes have an inadequate food intake.
The report titled ‘Nutrition and dementia: a review of existing research’ reviews existing international research into nutrition and dementia, and was commissioned by Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) and global catering company Compass Group. The research was led by Professor Martin Prince from the King’s College London Global Observatory for Ageing and Dementia Care.
Alzheimers New Zealand has welcomed the new report, and says nutrition must be a key consideration in the care of people with dementia, whether they are living at home, or in a residential care facility.
“Quality nutrition is a significant challenge for people with dementia, and weight loss is very common. Dementia can affect their ability to feed themselves, to recognise their hunger levels and to understand the importance of adequate food and fluid intake,” says Alzheimers NZ Executive Director Catherine Hall.
“Under nutrition has a significant impact on the general health of a person with dementia and can worsen aspects of their condition such as confusion.”
“Just like anyone else, every person with dementia is likely to have different likes and dislikes, and this is particularly true when it comes to food,” she says. “Every person will also have different needs, which could include anything from assistance with cooking and grocery shopping, to physical assistance with consuming their food.”
Alzheimers NZ says that with the numbers of people with dementia set to triple to 150,000 by 2050, it is essential that the quality of care for people with dementia continues to improve.
“The World Alzheimer Report 2013 revealed that by 2050 nearly half of all dependent older people likely to be living with dementia,” Ms Hall says.
“This means that we as a country have to lift our game in order to meet the specific needs of older people with dementia both now and into the future.”
The ADI report makes a series of recommendations to improve the nutrition of people with dementia. These include:
Read the full report
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