I know that for demented people, sweet food is the best stuff they love. I also know that they have less sensitive taste buds.
My Mom now has very dull taste - any flavor and even sweet. She used to like chocolate and all that and now she said she has dull tastes for everything. So Dad doesn't like what she cooks now. My sisters took them out for meal at times. Once a week, there is family party at my eldest sister's for Dad to play Mah Jong (a Chinese bridge game.) Mom doesn't play any games.
I am wondering if dementia also includes dull taste. Everything tastes poorly now for her. I thought sweet food is the one she would love but she turned down the sweet cake my sister made.
I'm not sure if this is helpful, but my dad has recently started not liking foods that are sweet. He used to like them a lot more. I may be comparing apples to oranges, but it could be that each person with dementia is different in this regard. Perhaps they are similar in that both your dad and mine both are more sensitive and particular about their choices of food than they used to be.
My husband, who has vascular dementia, still likes sweets. The retirement community where we live serves one glass of wine at dinner, and he still wants that too. About 6 years ago, before the dementia developed, he had esophageal surgery to correct a swallowing disorder. As the surgery involved cutting the esophageal sphincter and wrapping his upper stomach around the lower esophagus to prevent reflux, he can't eat much at one time. He thinks it is good to be so thin (he lost about 90 lbs and now weighs 180 on a very big boned frame). I wish he would gain weight, but maybe that's because I have gained about 20 lbs since he developed dementia about 4 years ago. I don't suppose the two are related, but he has had nothing but health problems since he retired. Also had two hernia repairs, prostate reduction with lasers, and removal of a mass (which turned out to be benign) from his kidney. He also has frequent diarrhea when he eats too much or too much sweets (it's called dumping syndrome and is because of his GI surgery). So although he likes sweets, I have to control how much he eats of them. The dementia is a lot worse than any of the physical problems, because it changed his personality.
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
Olfaction dysfunction, e.g. hyposmia, is well- recognized issue associated with AZ and Parkinson-related dementia. I am wondering if olfaction abnormalties also accompany other types of dementia, like vascular dementia?
Good question Luau. From my experience, Dad (Vascular Dementia) retained more of his sense of smell where as Mom (Alzheimer's) lost her sense of smell even before diagnosis. My best guess is that Vascular would depend on the part of the brain affected and the progression since it is different for each patient. Alzheimer's and Parkinson seem to have more standardized progression.