Most of us know that eating healthy foods is important for a healthy life. But for people with certain health problems, proper nutrition is more than just a good idea. Today, experts know that nutrition is an essential part of managing many health problems, including dementia.
Therapeutic nutrition—or the use of specific nutrients and food products in the right quantity to help manage a health problem—is a good way for you to take care of your own health or the health of a loved one. Therapeutic nutrition cannot prevent health problems, but it may help reduce medical care and complications and hospital stay.
Therapeutic nutrition works by making sure that your body gets the balanced mix of the nutrients it needs to fight an ongoing health problem. Your doctor or registered dietitian may recommend using it by itself or along with other medical care.
Dementia is a decline in mental ability. One of the most common forms of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. A person with dementia may forget to eat, forget how to eat, or get easily distracted at mealtimes. Giving people with Alzheimer’s disease several small meals and snacks, easy-to-eat finger foods, and therapeutic nutrition products such as Ensure Plus® may prevent them from losing weight and developing poor nutrition.
You may use therapeutic nutrition in addition to regular meals or choose to occasionally replace some foods with these products. Talk to your health care professional to make sure that therapeutic nutrition is right for you.
Always start by talking to your health care professional. Your doctor may refer you to a registered dietitian (RD), who will review your medical information, help you create a special diet, and show you how to use therapeutic nutrition products to meet your or your loved one’s specific needs. You can find an RD in your area by visiting the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics online at www.eatright.org and clicking on “Find a Nutrition Professional” or look in your phone book under “Registered Dietitians.”
Some insurance companies may cover the counseling an RD provides when recommended by your doctor. Contact your doctor’s office to see if an RD is on staff.
Many of these products are available to purchase online for home delivery. You also can find many therapeutic nutrition products at your local food or drugstore or ask your pharmacy to order them for you. Speak to your doctor or registered dietitian to learn which products are best for you.
To learn more about therapeutic nutrition products for specific health problems and for a store locator, visit www.AbbottNutrition.com or call 1-800-227-5767 Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM EST. You also can chat live with a registered dietitian online at http://ensure.com/ask-a-nutritionist.
Here are trustworthy sources of general information about dementia and Alzheimer’s disease:
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, NINDS Dementia Page: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/dementias/dementia.htm
- National Organization for Rare Disorders: http://www.rarediseases.org
- Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral Center (ADEAR): http://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers
- Alzheimer’s Association: http://www.alz.org/
- Alzheimer’s Foundation of America: http://www.alzfdn.org/