The dietary independence of a dementia sufferer (DS) must be balanced with a healthy diet. If your DS has access to the kitchen and can eat whatever he finds there, then it is all the more important to keep him fed with healthy snacks and appealing small meals through the day. A DS who can locate the chips and ice cream will probably go for those foods before he will eat carrots and hummus, much less re-heat the pasta from last night.
If you try to eliminate the snack foods from your house, your DS will find a way to get them, even if it means driving to the store in rush hour traffic because he is having chocolate withdrawals. Plus, not having snacks available can trigger an argument because he thinks you are being unfair. Trying to explain that you are cooking chicken and broccoli for dinner that will be served in twenty minutes and that he needs to eat healthy will get you nowhere because he can’t comprehend time or healthy. He wants sugar and he wants it now.
If your DS is compromised by other dietary issues, like diabetes, then your insistence on and preparation for eating well is mandatory. A healthy DS is a happier DS. As with so many other things, you must manage his diet now, too. Give your DS a choice of foods, but not a choice of whether to eat or not…within reason. Don’t become a kitchen tyrant, an occasional donut or small bag of chips won’t hurt. Just strive for balance. And because your DS cannot prepare a meal for himself any longer doesn’t mean you get to feed him all those foods he really dislikes…thinking Brussels sprouts here. Remember the Golden Rule.