Ninamarc... many with dementia do prefer the sweets or even salty foods. Many think this is because those are the last taste to go but this is not so. Bitter is the last taste to go. Most sweets are not bitter. Even if the sweet is not as intense, it is at least not bitter as many of other foods. You will find that they like the milk chocolate better than the more bitter dark chocolate.
Smell is very important in taste. They tend to go hand in hand. Smell is one of the first sense that declines in Alzheimer's. So they miss the olfactory benefits of smell when tasting a food. This can make foods seem different. This is one of the main reasons in the change in their likes and dislikes. You just have to keep trying what works best for your loved one. Rather than sticking to what they liked in the past, change flavors and find out which one is more appealing. They might like more spices, less salt, more salt, no sweets, more sweets... it's all about their preferences for where they are in their disease
I would sprinkle salt or sugar on foods and Mom would eat better. She didn't like the pepper at all. It's trial and error!
Arleeda, Mom and Dad both had a taste for alcohol in the mid stages but lost it in the later stages. Dad didn't know if his coke had bourbon it in or not! Mom liked her grape juice in a wine glass just fine.
I do think there may be a connection between the weight gain we have and dementia.... or it may be weight loss. It depends on how you respond to stress. We all know this is definitely a stressful situation. Those of us that eat our way through stress gain weight. Those that can't eat when they are stressed will tend to lose weight. The years my parents were at home I gained weight all because of stress eating. The 18 months I thought they are ok in AL... I lost that weight. When I brought them here and going through the ending with Dad and then Mom... I gained it all back. Now that they are both gone, I am losing again. It all fits my stress eating profile