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Monthly Archives: November 2017

The Psychology of Hydration

Drinking & Dementia

The Psychology of Hydration

Hugh McGivern

Anyone who has contact with someone with dementia will know how hard it is sometimes to get the person to have a cold refreshing drink.

It can be for various reasons. But for any carer it’s paramount to ensure Hydration levels are maintained. Urinary infections are common within the elderly and those with Dementia and in my experience it comes down to a couple of common factors. The persons lips are sore, the inside of their mouth may have ulcers and the most common, they don’t want to keep going to the bathroom. They may feel they are a burden or it’s just too much to go through this daily routine more than they did when they were young. Pads can help in some cases but keeping a level of independence whilst they are able is vitally important.

We can use a few tricks or Psychology to get round this. Tea, coffee and other hot drinks are all well and good but to replace vital fluids we need water based drinks with additions.

Encouraging a small glass of water first thing in the morning is a great way to start the day and helps clean out the system and flush the kidneys. These small glasses of water should be encouraged throughout their day and even served alongside their regular teas and coffees.

If the person is in a Care Home environment it’s a great idea to have both flavoured jellies and fresh fruit ( small) ice lollies available all day. Making them in various layered colours and flavours adds an extra dimension creating further stimulus for the person which is important for keeping the mind me active. These are also good for people with dysphasia as they are getting the same as everyone else. When people see others enjoying something that look nice, chances are they are more inclined to have the same, encouraging Care staff to have one as well is important for people who require one on one attention.

Giving fortified drinks to those requiring extra fluids and nutrition can be given in the form of shakes and smoothies. Always check the correct consistency and try to use brightly coloured fruits and vegetables ( this gets roughage into the diet.).

I have included some basic smoothies for people to try, they are simple to make, just put all the ingredients into a liquidiser and blitz then serve. Check any allergens prior to serving. People are more attracted to brightly coloured drinks and hound encourage better Hydration

Frostie ( 270 Calories) 1 Cup Frozen Raspberries

1 Cup Frozen Strawberries

½ Orange ( Peeled)

2 Tbsp Vanilla Protein Powder

1 Tbsp Ground Flaxseeds

#2 Very Berry Smoothie ( 275 Calories) ¾ Cup Frozen Raspberries

¾ Cup Frozen Cherries

¾ Cup Almond Milk

1 Orange ( Peeled)

2 Tbsp Protein Powder

#3 Stone Fruit Smoothies (310 Calories) 2 Peaches ( Stone removed & Chopped) 1 Apricot ( Stone Removed & Chopped) 1 Cup of Frozen Strawberries

6oz Fat Free Greek Yoghurt

2 Tbsp Ground Flaxseeds

1 Cup of Ice

If a carer can encourage a person to drink even an extra glass of water, fresh fruit juice ( not diluting juice that contains Aspartame) we have all managed to improve that persons day and well being.

Obesity, Malnutrition & Dementia in 21st Century Britain

Here is a hypothetical question, if everyone in the U.K. was healthy and ate a well balanced diet would it solve the problems our NHS and Care Sector services are facing ?

My personal simple answer is always going to be no.

The rise in the levels of obesity in Britain is worrying to the point that it is affecting future generations, you can still be overweight and malnourished. Our ever dependent need for processed and readily available junk food is a huge part of the problem. People don’t want to wait anymore they want immediate satisfaction; from messaging a friend and wanting an answer, to their eating and drinking needs. We live in a “I want, I want,” world of  instant gratification.

The studies into Dementia over the last decade have taken clinical leaps and bounds to find not only a cure but how to slow its progress and make it more comfortable to live with for sufferers and families affected.

For me and my alchemist mind I believe with better Food & Hydration we can all help each other. The 1st step is to teach the youngest generation that preparing, cooking and eating the correct foods are beneficial to us. There is a lower chance of developing Alzheimer’s if your diet is balanced from an early age, creating your own tastes as you get older, sharing your abilities with friends.

I have devised many recipes with dementia in mind and the associated symptoms. Blending a few simple ingredients and applying the correct cooking process and timings the most insecure amateur can produce beautiful dishes. I mentioned timings, these are critical to retaining as much nutrients, vitamins and hydration in a recipe to complement the flavours.

We are all familiar with the fact that good food can help the healing process if someone is either ill or in hospital. My wish would be for every single person in the UK to have a PPP ( Personal Patient Profile) in this day and age of everyone knowing each other’s business how simple would it be to have people’s food likes and dislikes along with allergens on a profile kept and adjusted all through a persons life that travels with their NHS records.

If we could cut post theatre hospital stays by one day in every major hospital the length and breadth of Britain the savings would be jaw dropping. To achieve this we would have to reinstate chefs into hospital kitchens, preparing fresh food and serving happy patients. Imagine the  scenario, you have just come round from an operation or procedure and after being reassured and made comfortable you are presented a familiar favourite meal ( chosen from your PPP) that initial feeling of comfort and familiarity can help with healing and in the long term saving money. Generating new jobs and careers for generations to come. Hospital food services must be conducted in-house and an internal central purchasing department set up so ensure best procurement.

The Care Sector has already begun to record people’s profiles and even in an area where budgets are tight it is possible to achieve. The secret is to ensure this spreads to hospitals, schools, nurseries and places where meals are supplied. The rise in dementia cases means our approach to diets and feeding has to adapt. We have sufferers who have no interest in food and others who could eat all day long, one could lead to malnutrition and the other to an obese resident. Concentrating on those that don’t want to eat or drink is paramount as food can stimulate certain parts of the brain that may reduce stress, anxiety and help with sleep. Below is a link to an extensive list of foods to help certain symptoms. If you look for what you think is the problem with a resident/patient look at the corresponding list of ingredients to make a nutritious dish, a lot of the ingredients are repeated to cut costs.

The obesity epidemic in my opinion is down to a few factors, the main one being an access to junk food, packed with sugars ( man made and processed) and trans fats, stir this up with limited exercise and you have a recipe made in hell. The public have been blinded with choice but very rarely are we encouraged to get back to basics. Giving school children basic cooking lessons will hopefully lead to them wanting to expand their library of dishes and take this food journey throughout their lives. If more people shop for ingredients the less they will use fast food outlets and shops will react better to public buying power. We all at some stage copy others and with a healthier regime it could catch on. Already chefs visit schools and businesses to demonstrate their cooking and maybe that influence will be the catalyst for a healthier lifestyle. Take the first of many steps by telling yourself that you can do this, a little self belief and my personal favourite having a smaller plate.

Finally the rise in malnutrition throughout the UK has seen a significant increase, whether this is because of a lack of money, bad diet or just not knowing how to cook a simple meal. The time it takes to drive to your favourite fast food joint you could shop for fresh ingredients and make the equivalent at home, enjoying yourself, having family time and even saving a few quid into the bargain. Malnutrition doesn’t just mean someone is skinny it means they are mal nourished, not getting the correct share of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and nutrients to lead a healthy life, so someone that is seriously overweight can still be malnourished.

We all have a responsibility, whether it’s to yourself or others are reliant on your assistance. Put the boot on the other foot, if you were poorly and in need of help how would you want to be treated. It’s a simple answer……..