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Every year almost 50 million people around the world are diagnosed with dementia.
Patients suffering from dementia have to deal with several symptoms aside from memory loss, and one of them is the sudden loss of appetite.
If one of your loved ones is battling dementia, it’s important you’re aware of the eating habit changes that accompany this disease. Read on to learn more.
1. Sudden Loss of Appetite
One of the most severe ways dementia changes a person’s appetite is by the sudden loss of appetite.
There are several reasons why dementia patients lose their appetite but some of the most common include forgetting how to chew and swallow food.
However, there happens in the more advanced stages of dementia. Some patients lose their appetite because they’re too embarrassed about their eating limitations.
Others lose their appetite due to lack of physical, activity, depression, or even ill-fitting dentures.
If you want to help dementia patients eat after they have lost their appetite, you can offer them smaller meals throughout the day. Check out more tips on how to encourage their appetite.
2. Inability to Eat at the Table
When it comes to changing eating habits, loss of appetite is not the only difficulty dementia patients face.
For example, some patients lose their sense of table etiquette. Some patients display certain behaviors when they eat at the table alone.
It’s quite common for dementia patients, for example, some might use the salt instead of sugar. Others might start even pour orange juice into their cereal.
Some patients benefit from having one thing served at a time. If they have difficulty with utensils, you can always serve them finger food.
3. Sweet Cravings
Some dementia patients instead of losing their appetite, they develop a taste for sweet foods. As a result of depression, certain anti-depressants prescribed to dementia patients might increase their sweet cravings.
If you know they’re dealing with a sweet craving you can try to incorporate healthy choices such as low-calorie ice cream or other fruits.
4. Chewing and Swallowing Issues
As we mentioned before, some dementia patients lose their appetite or change their eating habits due to their inability to chew normally.
Some of them might also deal with a dry mouth or gum disease they’re unaware of and this affects their eating habits. To rule out any dental conditions, they should get evaluated by a dentist.
5. Overeating is Also Common
Although the loss of appetite is the most common among dementia patients, others might also experience an insatiable appetite.
If their dementia causes them to overeat, there are a few things to help them. For starters, instead of 3 meals a day, try serving them 5 or 6 smaller meals.
You can also try to incorporate physical activities or socialization as a form of distraction.
Sudden Loss of Appetite in Dementia Patients: The Bottom Line
Although it’s common for dementia patients to deal with the sudden loss of appetite, there are other side effects. Some eating changing eating habits include overeating, having trouble swallowing, craving sweets, and difficulty eating at the table.
If you enjoyed these tips and would like to learn more, check out the health section of our blog.