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Diabetes & dementia


New member
May 30, 2022
My nan recently got diagnosed with dementia in march & has had diabetes for a few years she’s in a care home now but they are letting her eat crisps & other sweet foods , wouldn’t that effect her diabetes tho? , she doesn’t seem to want to eat much of her normal food just sweet stuff I’m just worried about her as the care home dont seem to care , she’s got soo thin she’s like skin on bone :(

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Hello @mand82 Welcome.

My husband was diabetic and was given his medication in residential care until he was unable to swallow the large tablets and there was no liquid alternative . By the time he was on no medication, he was offered an unrestricted diet with no ill effects.

I'm sure, if your nan has lost so much weight, the care home are glad if she eats anything. Tastes change with age and illness and your nan may be more accepting of food considered not so healthy. At her stage in life I wouldn't worry too much. Don't forget, in residential care your nan won't have open access to food, just the food offered to her which will be monitored I`m sure.


Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
My mother didn't have diabetes and didn't seem to have classic dementia symptoms but she did develop a taste for chocolate biscuits and ate a lot of them. It was hard to get her to eat anything at all and at one time her weight fell to a dangerously low level so we accepted that chocolate biscuits were better than nothing. Care home staff did their best to get her to eat healthy food and drink but it was an uphill struggle. If someone is in their final years of life I would be inclined to the view that a few pleasures of life such as sweet foods should not be denied.


Registered User
Apr 3, 2019
Did you know dementia affects the taste buds? Apparently it makes most things taste very bland, and the sweet taste buds are some of the last to go, so developing a sweet tooth is very common. This could explain why your nan has lost her taste for savoury foods. I've seen some diabetic-friendly menus and I was surprised at the amount of puddings etc deemed acceptable - but apparently it's more about the combinations so a pudding is ok as part of a meal or custard or ice cream ok with cake as the fat and protein slow down the release of the sugar, etc. Eating hard boiled sweets may not be so ok, but biscuits again may be ok especially with some fat like a bourbon or something like that. If staff are testing her regularly they can ensure she has enough medication, too. But unfortunately both dementia and diabetes are chronic, so they can't be fixed and as Martin said at this stage of life it's more about enjoyment than long term health.


Registered User
Sep 6, 2017
When my dad became very thin due to his dementia and cancer I completely forgot about his diabetes. He even started to take sugar in his tea and coffee after about 40 years of not taking it. He survived on scrambled eggs with cream for lunch and dinner and ice cream with a chocolate ganache on top and then more cream for pudding. His consultant and his GP were amazed at how well he did and both said not to worry about what he ate.

It sounds dreadful but he put on some weight and remained healthy for another couple of years before he died.


Registered User
Mar 15, 2020
my husband is a diabetic and takes metformin. he also has swallowing issues so a lot of the diabetic menu he cant have. so we have a choice of safe food and diabetic food. it was hard enough to convince him to eat safe food he wasnt so likely to choke on versus diabetic diet. its not sweet stuff as much as carbohydrates that break down into glucose is the one to limit. potatoes, bread, rice, pasta. brown is better than white.


Registered User
Mar 1, 2013
My late mother was an insulin dependant diabetic. It was a nightmare to start with as I got landed ( after my father suddenly passed away) with managing her insulin.

Her GP knew her well, and knew she'd never managed it well.

GP's attitude was, let her have what she wants & adjust the insulin accordingly.

As Jennifer says, its not just sugar thats a problem, its the carbs.

Is she diet controlled or insulin dependant?