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Dementia, Swallowing, Memory Boxes and Capacity for Decision Making – lessons from Speech Pathologists.

People with Dementia often “lose their swallow.”  This is not often known yet it causes aspiration pneumonia (things going down the wrong way) and is often the reason doctors give a  “Nil By Mouth” order.  There are however things you can do. Here Colleen Kerr talks about her wish for a Masterfood Challenge where the food is pureed and beautiful.

The word “capacity” is also not well known. Health professionals may say someone ‘has’ or ‘has not’ capacity , meaning they can or cannot make decisions. Yet this is not helpful. Someone with dementia can still make some decisions for themself if given helpful prompts such as those that Colleen and Dijiana discuss.

Memory boxes are another useful tool for dealing with dementia, even in the end stages when someone may have to come into hospital.

The most important trick according to Colleen and Dijiana? Timing!

Discuss how important food and drink, meals and dinners are well ahead of time.

Decide and tell others what medical care you do and do not want early- before people need to know.

And create your memory box or book or piece of memory jewellery early enough so that they, or you, can participate in choosing what goes into that memory box or book.