Does Food Taste Good To Dementia Patients?


Alzheimer patients often have different preferences for foods that they might of had before the disease came on. Their tastes can change slowly or abruptly as the disease progresses, but either way, it is disturbing to the caretaker. That is the case with my mother and it put me into a tailspin, worrying that she wasn’t getting the proper nutrition.

Now when you think about it, that’s a crazy thought because they are still adults, right? They really are not 5 year old children who haven’t tasted certain foods. They’ve had a lifetime of eating and tasting creating their preferences for certain foods and a dislike for others. It’s their right not to eat what they don’t have a taste for…they don’t like it…it doesn’t taste good to them. We are all different…right? Food should taste good, right?

cookie monsterWell, it turns out that Alzheimer patients taste buds change as they progress into the disease. What they liked yesterday is not necessarily what they will like today or tomorrow or the next day…their tastes change. With that, it stresses out the caregiver because we are there to do the right thing for our parents. After all, we are THEIR parents now and they must listen to us because we know better…. Heck, we love to eat broccoli and spaghetti with sauce with parmesan cheese on top and my Mom used to like it too…so why doesn’t she like it now?  Why is she not eating her cookies anymore, raiding the cookie jar every time I turn my head? I once called her the cookie monster. I also used to give her medication with pudding or yogurt and the other day she spit it out…at me…. with a sour puss on her face. I insisted that it tastes fine…and that she’s been taking her pills like that for a long time with no problem…so why now is she acting so vile? Because their tastes change as they progress into the disease…finally, I got it!

Last week, I found Teepa Snow who teaches and lectures on the behaviors of Alzheimer’s patients. She educates caregivers, while explaining how the Alzheimer’s afflicted person is experiencing their disease. I found her lectures amazingly informative, feeling that any caregiver would benefit from viewing her videos. She has a website and her other videos are also found on: The first video that I listened to, I posted on the Boomerang-parent’s Facebook page. Here is the link to Teepa’s video that I first listened to that finally made sense to me:

applesauce  pudding

Teepa says that their taste of sour and bitter becomes stronger than before…therefore they start putting more sugar in coffee, eat more sweets, etc. She gives all sorts of scenarios that all caretakers face with dementia patients. She suggests that crushing their pills in apple sauce is the worst thing you could do because it makes the already bitter pills, more bitter in the apple sauce. She says that jam would be the better choice to get them to take their meds. Also, did you know that putting crushed meds in pudding or yogurt really doesn’t work either…not really…because of the smooth texture. Makes them want to spit it out because they feel the crushed pills in their mouth…which my mother actually did. Why didn’t I think of that…..? There is so much more in this video, including humor…a lot of light-hearted humor…definitely worth the watch.

It all became so clear and understandable…of course….why didn’t I see that before? Probably because I was in the middle of the situation with blinders on. It makes so much sense…and I felt relieved having seen it. Finally something that explains what is happening before my very eyes. I may not like it, but it’s the facts Ma’me. Teepa gives very good suggestions on how to get around the altered taste buds and as glad I am to know that now…I wish that I could have seen her video last summer in 2014 where I could have applied it to my Mother’s symptoms. I could have made her life so much easier if I knew these simple facts, and would have saved myself a heap of worrying. Hopefully, I can help to pass this info on to others.

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People with Dementia Love Sweets.

cookie monster

Caught Red-Handed…Evidence in Hand!

Funny how much a dementia patient will love sweets. It’s the highlight of their day and they will sneak around the house trying to get them at any opportunity. Yesterday was Saturday and I was home for the day having finished all my errands and supermarket runs. Took a break after lunch to sit and work on a gift that I have been making for a friend when who do I see shuffling by through the living room? Yep, you guessed it, my mother! I didn’t even ask what she doing or where she was going because I knew exactly what she was up to. She was headed in a straight bee-line for the kitchen as she does everyday as if she was on a mission…one foot in front of the other taking baby steps, not turning her head to say hello, not stopping for anything.

Tonya the dog is slowly walking behind her knowing what she was up to. Of course Tonya knew there was something in it for her so she stayed close-by. I just sat there and said nothing, just watching. I hear plastic noises in the kitchen so I figured I’d go in to monitor the situation. There she was, cookie in hand, waving it proudly for my photo. What the heck, she had her lunch so why not a cookie? She loves cookies and sweets of all kinds as her mother and father did and their parents before them. Not sure if it is just a trait of her family or if it’s magnified by the dementa. Her father had dementia and he was a sweets monger also. My grandmother was a grand baker of cakes, cup cakes and cookies so there was always something sweet in the house. She made the best chocolate ship cookies that I have ever had.

This morning after doing her morning routine, she follows me into the kitchen to watch while I make her breakfast, then usually she follows me back to sit down at her table to eat. This morning, while I was making her breakfast she seems distracted, moving over to the left to stand directly in front of the cookies, giving them a stare as a bird dog would stand in position when pointing out a bird in the field. I looked over at her and all she could muster up was “oh boy, look at that”. Since every day is a new day for her, every day is also a newly discovered box of cookies! All I said was ooookay…if you still want one after you eat your breakfast, you can have one for your morning snack…of course a few hours later she was ready for her morning snack and had her cookie! Funny how they forget almost everything else, but they always remember to get their sweets.

So why not a cookie? At her age and with what she is going through, every day should be good for her. After all, today may be her last day so who am I to say that she can’t have a cookie? At this point, I am thinking quality rather than quantity. As long as she still knows what a cookie is, she is welcomed to have one if it makes her happy. The Cookie Monster Strikes Again!

So, why not a cookie?

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