Eating and assessment

An assessment should be carried out to consider whether there are any barriers or impairments that are affecting eating. A full assessment would include consideration of dental health for instance, false teeth not fitting, loose teeth or tooth sensitivity.

  • Does the person have problems with swallowing or digestive problems? Are they able to manipulate cutlery?

  • Are they on medication that may affect appetite or leave their mouth dry?

  • You should also consider factors such as loss of taste, smell, or sight (is he wearing his glasses and can he see the food?).

From a social and cultural perspective we might want to consider if the food the person likes is available and if it is available at the time they would normally eat. We should also consider the environment in which meals are served. Again an assessment of this behaviour should be considered as It is important to be aware if this behaviour occurs at certain times of the day and if this is related to the cause.

These research findings amount to a consensus, which is typified by the concluding remarks of a recent Japanese study: ‘most Alzheimer’s residents continue to spend their days alone, doing nothing, with little social interaction; and what we call “null effect” is probably concealing much more sadness and loneliness than we would care to admit’ (Schreiner et al. 2005: 134).

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This article is from the free online course:

Dementia: Understanding and Managing Challenging Behaviour

University of Birmingham