Hippocrates once said, “Our food should be our medicine. Our medicine should be our food.” Preparation of regular, nutritious meals can become a challenge when serving people with dementia. As a person’s cognitive function declines, he or she may become overwhelmed with too many food choices, forget to eat, or have difficulty with eating utensils.
Proper nutrition is important to keep the body strong and healthy. For a person with Alzheimer’s or dementia, poor nutrition may increase behavioral symptoms and cause weight loss. Bristol House Memory Care is on the cutting edge of holistic memory care, having sought the advice of Dr. Julie Lachman, Naturopathic doctor, who recommended some small changes to the kitchen that make a big difference in the residents’ meals.
Chef Shawn has shared some insights (as well as his favorite foods: lasagna, grilled asparagus, and Frozen Sabayon!) into these changes that impact our beloved residents.
Older persons with decreased appetites need food that is appealing — food that is easy-to-eat and uncomplicated. Chef Shawn recommends finger foods rather than a whole plate, with items that are simple yet still nutritious.
Nutritionally-complete meals include veggies, fruits, and grains. Homemade soups ensure control over the ingredients in contrast to canned soups. Low-fat and fat-free items are a must for heart health. Lean proteins round out the healthy plate.
Chef Shawn modifies recipes to make them more healthful. He transitioned from fried foods to more baked goods. Roasting and sautéing with healthier fats, like coconut oil, are easier on the heart and cholesterol. Small changes, like using fat-free milk instead of whole milk, make a healthy difference without sacrificing taste.
An abundance of sugar, salt, and saturated fats, is not conducive to good health. Chef Shawn will substitute honey, maple syrup, and Stevia (natural zero-calorie sweetener) for sugar. Salt is replaced by garlic, cumin, and vinegar. To keep saturated fats low, he uses broth instead of cream and grilled instead of fried. Finally, brown rice wins out over white rice for nutritional value.
Well-made — and well-presented — foods can tempt the reluctant diner with dementia and provide what they need for good health.
The mission of Bristol House Memory Care is to provide excellent care for residents and offer peace-of-mind to family members. Our vision is to be the memory care community of choice for families affected with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. In the spirit of open communication, we work together with families to create a culture at Bristol House Memory Care based on respect and dignity for all individuals. Our expertise in advanced care practices and commitment to ongoing training ensures that we will provide unsurpassed quality of care.