Finger food for Alzheimer’s patients | Nutrisens

Providing Alzheimer’s patients with finger food avoids issues for those with cognitive problems and difficulty in feeding themselves.

Why finger food?

Finger food is useful for anyone who has difficulty performing a movement or series of movements. Apraxia makes cutting up food and taking it to the mouth a complex, sometimes impossible, task to accomplish (Edahiro et al., 2012).

Finger food does away with cutlery and simplifies eating while enabling the patient to remain autonomous (Jean, 1997; LeClerc & Wells, 1998). Lack of autonomy has been linked to weight loss in patients with cognitive problems (Berkhout, Cools, & Van Houwelingen, 1998) so finger food is a good way of encouraging patients to eat.

Finger food is also very useful for patients who refuse to sit down to eat. They can eat as they move around, which avoids frustrating them by insisting that they sit at mealtimes (Benattar & Lemoine, 2009).

In any case, like modified texture food, finger food should be prescribed by a doctor or there may be a risk of regression. The ability to use cutlery may be lost prematurely if finger food is proposed too readily.  

How to introduce finger food

Finger food is basically any food that can be eaten with fingers: sandwiches, bite-sized chunks or puréed food in bite-sized portions (V Pouyet, Giboreau, Benattar, & Cuvelier, 2014).

Scientific journals and practicians often recommend the use of finger food (Barratt, 2004; Finley, 1997) (Benattar & Lemoine, 2009; Perron & Chauliac, 2012).  A study has shown that finger food is judged by experts to be a cheap and easy solution for care institutions (Cluskey & Kim, 2001).

Studies show that providing finger food for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease increases their intake of food (Soltesz & Dayton, 1995).

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