Someone with dementia may develop a newfound preference for foods they once didn’t enjoy.
Dementia is a syndrome associated with a progressive decline in brain function, often resulting in memory problems and changes in behavior. Although there is no cure for dementia, there are treatments and support services available for those affected by it. Therefore, the earlier you can recognize symptoms and seek professional assistance, the better.
According to the NHS, “typical early” signs of dementia encompass memory loss and mood alterations. Nevertheless, an expert has noted that some individuals may exhibit dementia-related symptoms while cooking.
In an interview with Express.co.uk, Dr. Adam Moreton, a consultant psychiatrist specializing in older adults at Pall Mall Medical, cautioned that dementia can lead to alterations not only in people’s food preferences but also in their ability to prepare meals to their previous standards.
He mentioned, “Specific types of dementia, particularly those impacting the frontal part of the brain, can influence food tastes, such as developing a sweet tooth in later life.” However, he clarified that this is typically not the initial symptom of dementia.
“As dementia progresses, it can affect one’s appetite, ability to swallow, or even the recollection of having eaten recently,” he added.
However, Dr. Moreton pointed out that alterations in the way someone plans and cooks a meal may become evident before changes in their food preferences.
He elaborated, saying, “One issue that might be observed at an early stage is challenges in planning and organizing tasks, which is referred to as ‘executive function.’ In terms of food and meal preparation, dementia can impede a person’s capacity to cook.”
He further explained, “Unbeknownst to many, cooking a meal actually involves significant cognitive processes.”
He added, “You have to coordinate the timing of various tasks and synchronize them for the meal. Dementia may become apparent when someone who was once an excellent cook is now finding it challenging to prepare food to their previous high standards.”
The Alzheimer’s Society further notes that alterations in a person’s taste preferences could lead them to consume foods that contradict their personal values. The charity explains, “A person with dementia might start to undergo changes in their perception of taste.”
“They might begin to find pleasure in flavors they previously didn’t favor, or develop a distaste for foods they always enjoyed. At times, individuals with dementia might make food selections that don’t align with their customary beliefs or tastes. For instance, a lifelong vegetarian may express a desire to consume meat.”
If you suspect that you or a family member may be experiencing dementia, it is crucial to consult a healthcare expert for an evaluation and diagnosis, emphasized Dr. Moreton.
He further recommended, “Arrange a consultation with your general practitioner (GP) to address your concerns.”
This insight comes from Fiona Callingham, a Health Reporter specializing in medical research, symptoms of illnesses, real-life accounts, and current public health topics