There are increasing efforts to improve the quality of food in care homes, but if a resident cannot experience the taste or smell of what’s on offer, they are unlikely to be enthused about eating, however appetising it looks and whatever its nutritional value.
Research suggests that people living with Alzheimer’s Disease can still identify sweet and salty tastes, whereas their ability to recognise sour and bitter is impaired. Similar results were recorded in healthy people of the same age. On the other hand, unlike the healthy elderly adults in the trial, those with Alzheimer’s demonstrated a lack of ability in identifying odours, and it has long been understood that your sense of smell can have an impact on appetite.
Read the full research article by clicking here.
That inspired me to search further, and of course there’s a host of information on the importance of a good diet for those living with dementia such as Alzheimer’s Society’s Eating_and_drinking_factsheet.
Then Ode’s award-winning product caught my eye, offering a method of stimulating appetite through releasing smells: it creates the link between the power of scent and its effect on our relationship with food. There are three scents in an ode and you decide when each comes on, around preferred mealtimes and daily routines. See more on the Ode website.
What I liked most was the suggestion in The Journal of Dementia Care’s Jan/Feb issue that an alcoholic drink can stimulate appetite. Show me a care home with a decent wine list and I’m booking in!