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Dementia-friendly meal time tips

Posted June 7th 2019 by Food Buddies

It’s Dementia Awareness Week this week, and at Food Buddies, we wanted to put together some advice for people living with dementia and their carers – specifically around meal times. (Text version below the video)

They’re based on experiences people told us and on the work that Outside The Box did with dementia advocate, Agnes Houston MBE, funded by the Life Changes Trust. For more info on this project and to watch a longer video made by Agnes, click here.

Food Buddies develops peer support for people with dementia and for carers, with a focus on aspects of food and keeping well and is a way  for people to encourage and support each other around food.

1)    Make meal times more manageable

  • Serve food on crockery that provides high contrast – avoid serving white food on a white plate. Blue crockery works well for most foods.
  • Coloured napkins can be useful to offer extra contrast 
  • Order special chunky cutlery and take it out with you.
  • Use a coloured glass for water.
  • And don’t worry about the mess! (Try wipe clean matts if that helps.) 

2)    Safely store food

  • Clearly label your food –  marking the expiry date can help if you’re experiencing changes to your sense of smell
  • Other info can also be added. Such as cooking instructions

3)    Boosting the flavour of your food

  • Some people prefer sweeter foods.
  • Boost sweetness by adding jams, sweet sauces, dried and fresh fruits. Honey and maple syrup are good for adding to hot drinks.
  • Try different foods – unusual combinations are ok too!

4)    Share the cooking & eating experience

  • Eating and cooking with other people can be a pleasant experience
  • Try food with different colours, textures to see what works best for you.
  • If large meals are challenging, try grazing platters instead
  • If you have a sore mouth, try bite-sized chunks or softer foods
  • Use photos of food if understanding words is difficult
  • pic – people sharing grazing platters e.g. our Riverside event?

5)    If your appetite is reduced or you forget to eat

  • Try to use full fat dairy products like cheese, milk, butter and double cream
  • Nuts and nut butter make a great snack
  • Beans and lentils are good to add to soups, stews and casseroles.
  • Smoothies can be a good way to boost calories.




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