More attention needs to be focused on the problem of malnutrition in people living with dementia, according to a new report released from Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) and the Compass Group.
Studies reviewed in the report Nutrition and Dementia have shown that up to 45 per cent of those living with dementia experience clinically significant weight loss over one year, and up to half of people with dementia in care homes have an inadequate food intake.
Commissioned to investigate how the right nutrition can help to make life better for people who live with dementia, the report highlights that reduced appetite and increased activity all play a part in contributing to malnutrition.
The report also discusses how obesity in middle age may also be a risk factor for developing dementia in later life, and also that currently there is no evidence that nutritional supplements can affect someone’s chances of developing dementia.
Alzheimer’s Society comment:
George McNamara, Head of Policy at Alzheimer’s Society, said:
‘It is scandalous that hundreds of thousands of people living with dementia in the UK have been let down when it comes to something as basic as food and drink. It is vital to get the fundamentals of care right, and we need a wake-up call across our health and social care system.
‘Malnutrition can be avoided by healthcare professionals doing simple things such as monitoring weight and nutrition. We also need to educate caregivers and care home staff, as dementia training can be the difference between someone starving and living well with the condition.’
Full copies of the report are available from ADI: http://www.alz.co.uk/nutrition-report