Nutritional Requirements of Individuals with Dementia

Topics: Nutrition, Eating, Food Pages: 6 (1175 words) Published: May 19, 2013
Understand and meet the nutritional requirements of individuals with dementia.

Outcome 1

1) describe how cognitive, functional and emotional changes with dementia can affect eating, drinking and nutrition.

Cognitive behaviour is dysfunctional emotions and behaviours caused by damage in brain affecting part of the brain responsible for memory and all that we learn from birth- how to talk, eat etc. This means that person with dementia can forget how important it is to eat and drink. They also may lose sense of hunger and thirst. It can become problem putting client’s health at risk.

Functional change is losing ability to remember how to eat using cutlery. Instead, some people find easier to pick up food by hand, so finger food should be provided. This might be a good way to avoid confusion and distress for a client. If person finds it easier food should be laid out for a client promoting their dignity.

Emotional change can be negative emotions about the confused state when individual may not understand that there is something wrong, but behaviour of others may lead them to feeling something is wrong, which often causes stress to individual with dementia.

2) explain how poor nutrition can contribute to an individual’s experience of dementia. Poor nutrition can make the symptoms of dementia worse, increase risk of more frequent infections requiring use of antibiotics. Malnutrition also affects immune system making it difficult to fight an infection. Effects of poor nutrition:

* Higher risk of infection
* Reduced wound healing
* Dermatological problems
* Constipation
* Disturbed sleeping pattern
* Weight loss/gain

3) outline how other health and emotional conditions may affect the nutritional needs of an individual with dementia. It is more likely that as well as dementia older elderly are more likely to develop other chronic illnesses and therefore will have specific nutritional needs.

Nutritional requirements

Energy requirements decline with age, particularly if physical activity is restricted. However, requirements for protein, vitamins and minerals remain the same, so it is imperative that food choices are nutritionally dense, supplying a rich supply of nutrients in a small volume.

There should be no restrictions on the input of fats if a client: * Has suffered weight loss
* Has a very small appetite
* Is very weak

Eating cereals, fruit and vegetables as a part of balanced diet will help clients who have bowel or constipation problems.

Many elderly people have high sugar intakes. If the rest of the diet contains lots of foods from the main food groups, there is no reason to limit sugar intake. In fact, if weight loss has occurred, sugars may be recommended to meet energy requirements and to aid weight gain.

Anaemia is common in elderly and can be caused by poor absorption, certain drugs and blood loss. Iron intakes can be met by having red meat and non-meat sources every day. Absorption is maximised by consuming vitamin C-rich foods at the same time, such as a glass of fruit juice or fresh fruit or vegetables with each meal.

For clients with pressure ulcers intake of Zinc is vital for body’s natural ability to heal wounds. (Can be found in meat, pulses, wholemeal bread and shellfish)

Consuming calcium rich products on a daily basis can slow down loss of calcium in bones, which starts at the age of 30 and accelerates considerably in later years. Calcium-rich foods (milk and dairy foods) should be eaten every day.

Vitamin D
Vitamin D is needed for calcium metabolism and its deficiency in elderly people can lead to bone softening and distortion. Many elderly people also have limited exposure to sunlight (this vitamin can be made through the action of sunlight on the skin).

B Vitamins
Intake of B vitamins may be low in this age group if appetite is poor and the diet is not rich in vitamins and...
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