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The Importance of Food and Mealtimes in Dementia Care

The Importance of Food and Mealtimes in Dementia Care

Grethe Berg


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Mealtimes are about much more than just re-fuelling, and the importance of mealtimes in the care of people with dementia cannot be overestimated. Using her extensive experience of working with older people with dementia, Grethe Berg explains how mealtimes can be used as natural opportunities for meaningful interaction, socialising and reminiscing, and useful forums for taking part in familiar tasks.

The book considers the social significance of mealtimes and their role in maintaining patients' feelings of social attachment and well-being as well as the impact of the symptoms of dementia on food and mealtimes. It also explores different types of residential care and how they can make mealtimes a focus of activity for patients. Finally, the author discusses practical implementation strategies, considering variables such as building design, interdisciplinary collaboration, organization of staff and residents, and staff participation and conduct at mealtimes.

This book provides much-needed help and practical strategies for care managers and carers to reclaim mealtimes as positive experiences for people with dementia.

Through a range of care studies this book describes how mealtimes can be structured to become natural opportunities for meaningful activity between the carer and person with dementia. Numerous examples are given of how to assess and plan mealtimes so that both parties can find the experience congenial and stimulating. It considers the social significance of mealtimes and the carer's role in maintains the person with dementia's feelings of social attachment and well being. This book is well written and offers examples of good practice throughout.
Mental Health Care Practice
Mealtimes have a major social significance for the elderly. This can be all too easily forgotten by the busy clinician, who is used to grabbing a sandwich and a takeaway coffee to hurry through while sitting alone in front of a computer screen. Grethe Berg's book is therefore well worth the attention of considerate care staff and managers, as a reminder of the way in which they ought to be thinking of their clients.
Journal of Mental Health
Grethe Berg has been an occupational therapist since 1973. She became a specialist in care of the elderly in 2000 and has experience of working in psychiatry, rehabilitation, and dementia care. She has been working in the psycho-geriatric unit at Sanerud Hospital, Norway, since 1997.
This book offers a broad discussion on the merits of different strategies to implement in the care of people with dementia during meal times and it would be of some value to any practitioner who has clinical interest in this area.
Mental Health Care Practice
This book should be read by all those who are at all concerned about developing their understanding and practice of engaging with older people and their needs. It is an excellent example of writing that manages to maintain a challenging vision and earth this vision in suggestions for practice. The subject is simple enough - how food and mealtimes can be used more consciously with people with dementia. In taking this focus it opens up a range of daily problems faced by carers and others who attempt to connect with those living with dementia. Its attractiveness and intelligence clearly emerge out of the wisdom of practice-based experiences of an occupational therapist who works in Norway and has developed a specialist interest in the care of older people particularly in rehabilitation... Jessica Kingsley continues to be an innovative publisher advancing our commitment to developing old age care. This volume is a welcome addition to their list and should be widely bought and read.
Leveson Newsletter
It opens by explaining the symptoms of dementia and how they affect people's ability to manage their lives independently. It then discusses how mealtimes may be turned into a time of purposeful activity, before ending by showing how these ideas can be implemented.
Professional Social Work
This is more than just a book about food, it provides valuable insights into the effects of living with dementia. In doing so, it also suggests useful strategies that can promote social stimulation, well - being and confidence.
Community Care Magazine
It is essential reading for care home managers and those responsible for commissioning dementia care services. The book, above all, expounds the value of time spent with the person with dementia, something of which many care staff have precious little.
Community Care Magazine