Managing mealtime tasks: told by persons with dementia
Article first published online: 18 JUL 2011
© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Journal of Clinical Nursing
Special Issue: European Doctoral Conference in Nursing
Volume 20, Issue 17-18, pages 2552–2562, September 2011
How to Cite
Johansson, L., Christensson, L. and Sidenvall, B. (2011), Managing mealtime tasks: told by persons with dementia. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 20: 2552–2562. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2011.03811.x
- Issue published online: 10 AUG 2011
- Article first published online: 18 JUL 2011
- Accepted for publication: 11 April 2011
- living at home;
- mealtime tasks;
- persons with dementia
Aim. To capture the self-description of managing mealtime tasks by persons with dementia.
Background. There are several factors that negatively affect food intake in persons with dementia that may increase the risk of developing malnutrition. Difficulties in managing daily activities increase gradually and mealtime tasks like food shopping, cooking and eating often become troublesome. Still, little is known about how persons with dementia themselves experience this issue.
Design. A qualitative study with an ethnographic approach.
Method. Ten women and five men aged 69–86 with dementia were interviewed. Interviews were carried out in the informants’ own homes and a thematic analysis was performed.
Results. The informants described that they wanted to be independent and that the memory loss was not affecting them to a great extent. Old habits and routines, as well as newly developed strategies, helped them manage mealtime tasks despite the disease. Informants were satisfied with their current situation, even though it sometimes meant that they had changed their way of managing mealtime tasks, for instance receiving meals-on-wheels.
Conclusions. Persons with dementia seem to be able to manage mealtime tasks and these activities were based on old habits and routines. Independence was highly valued and managing mealtime tasks seems to be one way to appear independent.
Relevance to clinical practice. It is important for caregivers to understand that persons with dementia might not express difficulties in managing mealtime tasks for fear of losing their independence. It is, therefore, important to create a trustful relationship even before problems arise to be able to support the persons when necessary.