Proper nutrition is important to keep you healthy. Many people with memory disorders or cognitive function decline cannot maintain the same nutritional intake over the progression of their life.
Providing meals is an important part of a care partner’s routine. Often the meal time is a busy, stressful time for the care partner and the resident. How can we as care providers provide that “hug” for our residents? Many of our homes have used educational programs to give care providers the knowledge they need to assist our residents to have a wonderful meal experience.
Several websites have excellence sources for information:
The Alzheimer’s Association provides excellent tips and education on the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiver Center page for care providers on why the resident may have a poor appetite. The person may no longer recognize the foods you put on his or her plate to the decreasing senses of smell and taste. This site also provides excellent ideas to de-stress the dining room.
Another useful website is the National Institute on Aging’s Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral Center, where you can find simple ideas for implementation for a plan of care for residents.
All the research and tips have a common theme: change the culture of your dining experience by knowing the resident. Encourage staff to provide food that is adapted to each resident’s individual need and stage of cognitive loss.
Many of our homes in Arkansas have changed from large dining areas to smaller home-like environments for their memory units. The nursing homes and their food suppliers often plan together for the special needs of their home. The presentation of meals and the successful addition of new dining experiences are implemented with a team approach.
As more and more research points to the evidence of food, music and activities being the key to a quality of life for all of us, more education will be needed to assist staff.
Continue to follow us at www.afmc.org for events related to food, dementia and the quality of life.
2015 AIPP DIETARY TRAINING WORKSHOP
Wednesday, May 20 • 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
Conway Expo Center and Fairgrounds
2505 E. Oak St. • Conway
Registration begins 30 minutes prior to the start of the session. Lunch will be provided by Sysco.
A free workshop presented by the Arkansas Innovative Performance Program