Nutrition and Hydration Tips for Dementia Caregivers 

Certain tasks and topics can provide a challenge for Caregivers when caring for seniors with Dementia. And when it comes to nutrition and hydration, they are both incredibly important for seniors’ health. Poor nutrition and hydration can cause a myriad of health concerns. We strongly advise speaking with medical professionals if you have any concerns about seniors’ food and hydration intake, but we also want to provide some tips to reduce challenges you may face. 

In terms of nutrition and meals, allowing the individual to be involved in the process (in whatever capacity they are able) is a great place to start. The more involvement and sense of control they have, the less likely they are to be resistant – whether it be the meal decisions/planning, the preparation, or both. 

For the presentation, there are a few things you can do to ease your seniors. Try your best to make the meals look appealing, because at the end of the day regardless of what stage and/or state they are in, they are just like us and more willing to enjoy a meal that looks appetizing! Using small plates and giving smaller portions can also help and be less overwhelming. A study also found that seniors with Dementia are more likely to eat from red plates than white ones (https://www.bu.edu/cas/magazine/spring10/golomb/). And if the senior in your care struggles with getting their bites onto their utensils, you can use a plate guard to make it easier and reduce frustrations. Be sure to be lenient with time as much as possible, it may take your seniors longer to finish their meal, and there is no harm in reheating their dish partway through if you notice it has gotten cold. And in reference to time, it would be ideal to try and plan meal times when they are awake and rested

To help encourage the seniors to have proper nutrition, try eating with them! Doing activities together is a great way to reduce resistance. This also applies for hydration, drinking with them is a good trick to get them to be better hydrated. If they remain resistant, you can make an activity out of it. Having a tea party, or playing a game that involves drinking are ways to include hydration in a more creative way. 

Some other tips for hydration, similar to that with nutrition, are all in the presentation. Smaller glasses are much less overwhelming than large ones, and much easier to manage as well. And adding a garnish or fun straw to the cup are also tricks you can try. If your seniors like drinking sparkling water, you could serve it in a wine, champagne, or cocktail glass

If the seniors in your care are incredibly resistant to water itself, we have found two tricks that may help. You can boost their water intake by mixing it with a juice, and as time goes on gradually start toying with the ratio by decreasing the amount of juice in the serving and increasing the water. Another tip would be to serve them foods that have high water content (fruits, vegetables, smoothies, soups…etc). 

Hopefully these tips and tricks help reduce challenges you face. But we want to remind you to always consult medical professionals and keep them up to date on seniors’ nutrition and hydration habits. 

And if your loved one is in need of care please feel free to reach out. Click on the “Contact Us” tab for our contact form, phone number, or e-mail address.

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