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E. Beattie, J. McCrow, C. Dyce, E. Fielding, E. Isenring

J Aging Res Clin Practice 2014;3(1):41-46

Background: The majority of people with dementia live at home until quite late in the disease trajectory, supported by family caregivers who typically take increasing responsibility for providing nutrition. Caregiving is highly stressful and thus both dyad partners are at risk of nutritional issues. Objective: This study evaluated the nutritional status of both dyad members and the associations between these. Design: Descriptive, correlational. Setting: Community. Participants: 26 dyads of persons with dementia and caregivers. Measurements: The nutritional status of each dyad member was evaluated at home using a comprehensive battery of measures including the Mini-Nutritional Assessment, Corrected Arm Muscle Area and a 3-day food diary. Stage of dementia and functional eating capacity was measured for the person with dementia. Caregivers completed a brief burden scale. Result: Of those with dementia (n = 26), a large proportion had nutritional issues (one was malnourished and another 16 were at risk). Six of the caregivers were at risk of malnutrition. In addition, fifteen of the people with dementia did not meet their recommended daily energy requirements. A moderate and significant positive correlation between functional eating skills and nutritional status (MNA score) among participants with dementia was found (r = .523, n = 26, p = .006). Conclusion: These findings suggest that a dyadic perspective on nutritional status provides important insights into risk in this vulnerable group. Specifically, monitoring of the functional eating independence skills of the person with dementia is critical, along with assisting caregivers to be aware of their own eating patterns and intake.

E. Beattie ; J. McCrow ; C. Dyce ; E. Fielding ; E. Isenring (2014): NUTRITIONAL CHALLENGES FOR THE FAMILY CAREGIVER AND PERSON WITH DEMENTIA DYAD . The Journal of Aging Research and Clinical Practice (JARCP). http://dx.doi.org/10.14283/jarcp.2014.9

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