Dementia and Weight Loss
We all know that dementia takes a toll. It takes a dramatic toll on the brain, social interactions and physical health. This toll can manifest in a variety of ways including, memory loss, personality changes and increased frailty. But, did you know that dementia can impact weight? Here are a few reasons why dementia can cause weight loss.
Some of these reasons seem more obvious than others. For example, it’s relatively well known that depression can cause disinterest in food. Dental problems cause discomfort and many medications cause side effects that impact appetite. But did you know, pacing associated with some stages of dementia can lead to an increased metabolic rate?
While no patient is the same, studies have shown that the three stages of dementia display different manifestations of weight loss.
Early stage patients typically maintain a healthy weight. However, if you notice a change in weight for an early stage patient, they will be able to tell you if they’re having dental problems, issues swallowing or stomach pain. A steady level of fluid and fiber are recommended to help them maintain a healthy body weight.
Middle stage patients frequently lose weight. This drop in adequate body weight results in increased frailty, muscle weakness and falls. There are three primary reasons these dementia patients lose weight:
- Metabolic | Burning a large number of calories due to constantly pacing or wandering
- Physical or Mechanical | Can’t consume enough food due to denture issues, oral disease or gastrointestinal problems
- Psychiatric | Not interested in eating, fear of being poisoned, or lose ability to recognize food
End stage patients will lose weight due to declining health and, in some cases, because they forget how to chew or swallow.
Summerset Assisted Living Community manages the health and well-being of all guests on an individual basis. Each guest is provided with three nutritious meals and the recommended amount of fluids daily. For dementia patients in all stages, Summerset uses a variety of strategies to insure weight maintenance.
At Summerset, regardless of level of care, we make it our mission to make each resident feel that they are at home when they come through our doors. If you have any questions about our assisted living program or our Memory Lane special care program, give us a call at 470-231-2357. You can also visit our website to learn more about Summerset’s Assisted Living Program.
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Your Home Away from Home | Located in Atlanta, Georgia, Summerset Assisted Living Community is focused on providing top quality, excellent, compassionate care for those we serve. Schedule a tour today!
*Sources: alzbrain.org and crisisprevention.com