Eating and drinking

2. The importance of eating and drinking

Eating and drinking well is important for staying healthy. A healthy diet is likely to improve a person's quality of life. Not eating enough can lead to weight loss and other problems including fatigue, higher risk of infection and less muscle strength.
 
People with dementia may become dehydrated if they are unable to communicate or recognise that they are thirsty, or if they forget to drink. This can lead to headaches, increased confusion, urinary tract infection and constipation. These can make the symptoms of dementia worse.

While a healthy, balanced diet is important, in the later stages of dementia the most important thing is making sure the person with dementia takes on nutrition, and a higher-calorie diet may be appropriate. A dietitian can give you advice on what is best in a particular situation.

Weight loss 

Weight loss is common in people with dementia, although the causes vary. They may include:
  • lack of appetite
  • difficulties cooking
  • problems with communicating or recognising hunger
  • poor co-ordination
  • getting tired more easily
  • difficulties with chewing and swallowing.
  • If the person is losing weight, speak to the GP. They can refer the person to a dietitian.