Dementia describes a collection of symptoms such as memory loss, problems with thinking skills and mood changes which occur when certain diseases or conditions affect the brain.
Dementia will affect each person differently.
Maintaining good nutrition is vital for the health, independence and wellbeing of people with dementia. As dementia progresses some changes can happen, such as difficulties using cutlery, difficulty in swallowing, recognition of food or tastes changing, likes and dislikes for food and drinks, and appetites can vary from day to day.
Alzheimer’s Society is full of helpful information for someone with dementia or someone who cares for someone with dementia. You can find out about symptoms, different types of dementia, treatments and risk factors. It also has useful information about eating and drinking when living with dementia and explains why someone may go off food.
The Eating and Drinking Well with Dementia Toolkit
Based on Research led by the Ageing and Dementia Research Centre at Bournemouth University, this toolkit provides free resources (a film, workbook, leaflet and guide) to deliver person-centred nutritional care in the area of dementia.
The toolkit can help healthcare workers to develop knowledge and skills around nutrition and hydration to provide best-quality care. More about the toolkit can be found here.
Founded in November 2014 by Nicci Gerrard and Julia Jones, John’s Campaign is a movement to help the NHS and social care providers recognise the importance of working with family carers as equal partners in the care and support of people with a dementia who are in hospital or care settings.
Nicci’s father, John, was living well with a dementia at home, independent and mobile, until a routine admission to treat leg ulcers turned into a five week stay in which he rapidly deteriorated.
When Nicci shared her father’s story in The Observer many other carers and relatives got in touch to say they too often felt excluded from the care of their loved one when they were admitted to hospital, inspiring the founding of the campaign.
John’s Campaign is a movement which began in the general hospital sector but has been widely adopted in residential care, mental health and community hospitals and is also supported by some GPs and home care providers. Essentially it’s an attitude to partnership working that should translate across all areas where people living with dementia (or other vulnerability) receive treatment or support. It advocates for the importance of working with family carers in whatever way they believe to be most useful.
The Malnutrition Task Force has supported of John’s Campaign from the beginning and have advised on a number of their guides and recently hosted the John’s Campaign annual event. Find out more here.