Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Designing The Best Diet for Dementia

Hillcrest | Two senior women drinking tea

Planning a diet for someone with dementia involves more than just choosing healthy foods. It’s about understanding their unique nutritional needs, accommodating common complications, and ensuring that each meal is nourishing and enjoyable.

Hillcrest, a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) in LaVerne, CA, provides different lifestyle options, including memory care support. Our Southwoods Lodge offers a specialized, welcoming setting for individuals with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

The memory care team at Hillcrest prioritizes a healthy diet that fights dementia and is designed to support cognitive health and overall well-being. Here’s how we do it.*

Hillcrest | Two senior women drinking tea
Tea for two and healthy meals, too! Hillcrest residents enjoy delicious, nutritious food and drink.

Understanding Dementia and Nutrition

Dementia affects brain function, leading to memory loss, confusion, and difficulty thinking and understanding. As the condition progresses, it can also impact a person’s ability to eat and enjoy food. Weight loss and malnutrition are common issues, making proper nutrition essential.

Individuals with dementia often face several challenges when it comes to eating, including:

  • Difficulty Swallowing: Dysphagia, or trouble swallowing, can lead to choking hazards and requires softer, easier-to-swallow foods.
  • Reduced Appetite: Various factors, such as medication side effects or decreased sense of taste and smell, can reduce appetite.
  • Eating Behaviors: Changes in behavior can make mealtimes difficult. For example, a person might forget to eat, refuse food, or become easily distracted.

Healthy Foods for Everyone

Focus on nutrient-rich foods that provide individuals with dementia the essential vitamins and minerals they need. Leafy greens, berries, nuts, seeds, whole grains, lean proteins, and fatty fish are excellent choices. These foods support brain health and can help manage other health issues common in older adults, such as heart disease and diabetes.

  • Healthy Fats: Incorporating healthy fats is vital for brain function. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in salmon, mackerel, and flaxseeds, have been shown to support cognitive health. Olive oil and avocados are also beneficial.
  • Hydration: Staying hydrated is vital. Dehydration can worsen confusion and cognitive impairment. Encourage water intake throughout the day and include hydrating foods like fruits and vegetables.
  • Antioxidant-Rich Foods: Antioxidants combat oxidative stress, which is linked to cognitive decline. Berries, dark chocolate, and veggies like spinach and kale are rich in antioxidants and should be part of the diet.

Practical, Tasty Meal Ideas for Dementia Patients

These delicious, nutritious meal and snack ideas are easy to swallow, packed with healthy ingredients, and don’t require much effort to prepare:


  • Oatmeal with Berries and Nuts: A warm bowl of oatmeal topped with blueberries, walnuts, and a drizzle of honey offers fiber, antioxidants, and healthy fats.
  • Smoothie: Blend spinach, banana, berries, and a scoop of protein powder for a nutrient-packed start to the day.


  • Salmon Salad: A mix of leafy greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and grilled salmon provides omega-3s and plenty of vitamins.
  • Vegetable Soup: A hearty vegetable soup with lentils or beans is a hydrating, fiber-rich option that’s easy to eat.


  • Chicken and Quinoa: A simple dish of baked chicken breast with quinoa and steamed vegetables is balanced and nutritious.
  • Stir-Fried Tofu and Vegetables: Tofu with bell peppers, broccoli, and carrots stir-fried in olive oil is a flavorful and healthy choice.


  • Yogurt with Honey: Greek yogurt with a touch of honey and a sprinkle of chia seeds makes a satisfying, healthy snack.
  • Apple Slices with Almond Butter: This combination provides protein, healthy fats, and fiber.

Creating a Meal Plan for Dementia

A structured meal plan helps ensure consistent nutrition. It makes sense to plan meals a week in advance. Create a shopping list, and you’ll have everything on hand after one trip. It’s also best to serve meals and snacks at regular times each day to create a routine.

Use smaller, manageable portions to avoid overwhelming the person. Incorporate a variety of foods to keep meals interesting and balanced, and be open to adapting textures and flavors to suit their changing preferences and abilities.

Hillcrest in La Verne, CA: Leading the Way in Memory Care

Hillcrest in La Verne, CA, provides specialized dementia care, focusing on proper nutrition. We understand the unique needs of individuals with dementia and offer a diet that fights dementia through carefully planned meals.

Our memory care residents enjoy meals designed by nutrition experts, ensuring they receive all necessary nutrients in an easy-to-eat and enjoyable format. The dining program emphasizes fresh, nutrient-dense foods like abundant fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. The Hillcrest culinary team collaborates with healthcare providers to accommodate individual dietary needs and preferences.

Hydration is also a priority, with regular offerings of water, herbal teas, and hydrating foods to prevent dehydration. The meal plans are flexible and adapted to meet the changing needs of residents as they continue to enjoy food and maintain their health.

Here’s what else you can expect from our supportive memory care community:

  • Three balanced meals each day and snacks
  • 24/7 care team availability and emergency response
  • Medication management
  • Assistance with bathing, hygiene, and dressing
  • Daily housekeeping and maintenance
  • Weekly bed and bath linen service
  • Physical and cognitive observation
  • Scheduled supervised activities
  • Transportation for medical, dental, and podiatry appointments
  • All utilities included (except telephone)
  • Beauty salon and barbershop services (additional fee)


Discover the Best Diet for Dementia and Exceptional Care at Hillcrest

Our team designs personalized meal plans that support cognitive health and overall well-being, ensuring your loved one receives a diet that fights dementia. Schedule a visit today to learn how Hillcrest can enhance the quality of life for your family member with our comprehensive care and expertly crafted meals.

*This article should not replace medical advice. Talk with your doctor regarding any issues you may experience, especially if you suspect memory loss, dementia, or Alzheimer’s.

As our Privacy Policy describes, this website uses cookies.