Socialising with Dementia Eating

Socialising with Dementia eating is so important.

A lot of dementia sufferers may give up eating because they are alone. Like many they find the whole experience of eating alone un-inspiring. ( even if they can manage or are supplied with a meal by care services). Taking time out to prepare the odd meal with them, even if just popping something in the microwave and sitting to eat together can stimulate their interest in food.

Spending time together over meals not talking about food, or making an issue of eating is a good approach. Much like you would if you went out for dinner with a friend. Chatting about other things, maybe watching a favourite program or listening to music. It can stimulate cognition, senses and enjoyment of eating.

Cognition and eating with dementia

While sharing or cooking meals together, it is also a good time too observe if its a more of a struggle to prepare & cook. And even if they have a microwave for simplicity, not remember how to use it. Or put foil & metal tins in and break it.

You may need to start re-stocking there fridge with ready cooked food. Things they can have the fridge and pick at without cooking.

When I first discussed this with my mum, it became a sticking point. I’d bring stuff over and she felt humiliated and resisted all my suggestions, leaving in there. It was frustrating, she kept going to the butchers buying fresh meat, which would rot in the fridge uncooked.

I learnt eventually to include her on my supermarket shop. We’d go round together with me suggesting spit roasted chicken, ( not hard as smells delicious) slices of ham etc. She was totally receptive to this, as even though she wouldn’t admit it, she knew she was struggling. She hadn’t been able to get there alone, so just used local shops. The butchers & greengrocers, where there was no pre-cooked food.

If frail or dementia causing cognition issues using cutlery & certain crockery can be a challenge. Are they able to cut food or get on fork easily. Or recognise what foods are on plates. Can they see the food on the plate easily.

But if you do notice problems, best not to highlight while eating together. This can be humiliating and eating with you to become a negative experience. They may not remember what you said, but likely to remember how you made them feel while eating. Trust me I learnt this from experience, after many arguments trying to encourage my mother to eat or correcting things in front of her.

You can put things in place later to compensate.


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