Open a PDF version to print this topic

HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Eating well with dementia

Te kainga pai me te mate korongenge

People with dementia, especially older people, are at risk of eating poorly.

Dementia can make it harder to prepare, eat and enjoy meals.

In later stages:

Eat a variety of foods

Eating well can help you feel more energetic and live in your own home for longer. Not eating and drinking enough can worsen the symptoms of dementia.

Eat a variety of nutritious foods, such as:

Keep a healthy weight

Keeping a healthy weight can help you maintain your physical and mental health.

For more information, see How to overcome a poor appetite and Tips to gain weight.

Supplements and alternative medicines

There is no reliable evidence that any specific supplements or alternative medicines slow down dementia.

But if you're having trouble eating enough to meet your needs, your general practice team or dietitian may suggest you take a nutrition supplement such as a vitamin or mineral supplement or an oral nutrition supplement drink.

Talk with your general practice team, pharmacist or other health professional before taking supplements, alternative medicines or over-the-counter medicines, as these can interact with your prescribed medications.

Keep your mouth healthy

Keeping your teeth and mouth healthy will help you to continue to eat well.

For more information, see Dental health in older people.

Meals on wheels

Meals on Wheels may be available for people who:

Your general practice team or other health professional can refer you for Meals on Wheels. Te Whatu Ora Health – New Zealand Waitaha Canterbury subsidises Meals on Wheels but there is a small cost, which is subject to change.

To find out more, see Meals on Wheels or phone (03) 335‑4443.

If you aren't eligible or prefer not to use Meals on Wheels, alternative home-delivered meal services (this link downloads a list) are available but the costs aren't subsidised.

Practical tips to help someone with dementia maintain good nutrition

If you're caring for a relative or friend with dementia, try the following tips.

  HealthInfo recommends the following videos

  HealthInfo recommends the following pages

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed August 2022.


See also:

Eating well for older people

Page reference: 46310

Review key: HIMLD-33325