Friday, November 16, 2012
Tips for Healthy Dementia Dining This Thanksgiving
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How to Eat Right, Keep Calm and Enjoy Thanksgiving with Someone Who Has Alzheimer's Disease or a Related Dementia
According to the National Institute of Mental Health(NIMH) over five million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia. Countless others are impacted by their illness. Studies have shown that eating right staves off dementia and slows the decline of someone who already has Alzheimer's disease or another type of dementia.
What can you do as a friend, loved one, or health care professional, to make Thanksgiving enjoyable and healthy.
The first thing is to keep it simple. Do not make elaborate dishes that take lots of time. There are plenty of easy healthy recipes out there. Using South Beach Diet, Zone Diet or Weight Watchers recipes is a good place to start. You can modify the recipes according to the dementia persons' likes and dislikes.
Another tip is to involve persons with Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia. Ask them about their preferences. If they say that they do not know, help them by telling them about things you like. Say, for example, I like squash. How about you? Then talk about ways to make squash. In this way, you can discuss every item you want to have for Thanksgiving.
Have them help you prepare the food. Give dementia persons simple tasks to do. Of course, you need to know their strengths and weaknesses to choose an appropriate chore. Make sure the assignment is failure free. In other words, there is no right or wrong way to do it. While you are preparing the food, reminisce about past Thanksgivings. Do not ask: Do you remember when...? Rather say That was so much fun when we...
Have a good belly laugh while talking about the good old days. Remember, research indicates that laughter does make someone feel better.
Fill your home with pleasant soothing aromas. Making a soup before or after Thanksgiving is a good way to do this. Cook the soup on a low flame all day long to let those heavenly smells fill the air.
Do not have too many guests at the meal. Make sure to keep it low key.
You may want to have two Thanksgiving meals. One for you and one for them. The one for them need not be on Thanksgiving Day. Pick a day that you and the dementia person can spend the day together enjoying all the happiness has to offer.
Now that you have read about the tips for healthy dementia dining, go have a great day
The book Adorable Photographs of Our Baby makes a great holiday gift for someone with dementia