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family member with dementia


Registered User
Nov 27, 2015
I am a young carer for a person with dementia, helping my mum out. I don't know how to cope with my family member who sometimes has trouble remembering who I am. he seems to remember certain memories from far back, but has a lot of trouble remembering to eat, knowing how to shave and so on. he struggles to eat properly and is painfully thin. I was wondering if there were any suggestions to encourage him to eat more, or remember how to store food properly so it doesn't go off and cause him to have stomach problems????


Volunteer Moderator
Feb 27, 2015
Welcome to TP :)

Has he had a social services assessment? Carers can help with the food & personal hygiene issues.


Registered User
Jul 20, 2011
It is worth a call to the Dementia Helpline
You can get all sorts of help for your family member including allowances and day care access - so many things you will be really pleased I think
The helpline below will go through with you all the things that you might find really helpful and they will help you to find the numbers you need to. Please let us know how you get on, you can post here anytime there will always be someone here to help and talk to you

Dementia Helpline 0300 222 1122 can provide information, support, guidance and signposting to other appropriate organisations.

The Helpline is usually open from:
9am - 8pm Monday to Wednesday
9am - 5pm on Thursday and Friday
10am - 4pm on Saturday and Sunday


Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
South coast
Hello fightgainstalz and welcome to Talking Point.

Remembering things from years ago, but not remembering what you ate for breakfast is classic dementia - the oldest memories are the ones that remain longest.
Think of your memory like a bookcase - the oldest memories are stacked at the bottom and the newest ones are at the top. If you shake the bookcase the books that fall out first are the ones at the top. Every time you add another memory it will go in at the top and be shaken out quickly.
When your grandad thinks of you he is probably remembering you as a small child (the oldest memories last longest) and that is why he doesnt always recognise you. When you go to see him say, as soon as you see him, hi grandad its me "your name" and he will be more likely to remember. Dont get upset if he still doesnt though, he will probably remember that you are important to him even if he cant quite place you.

As to not remembering how to shave, or how to store food properly - Im afraid that if he has forgotten how to do this you cant re-teach him (they will become new memories that will be quickly lost again) all you can do is take him step by step through how to do things, or do them for him. You will probably need to raid the fridge and throw out old food. Dont let him see you do it though and dont leave the old food in the house. People often get angry and have been known to take mouldy food out of the bin as "its perfectly OK"!!

If hes not eating, then little and often might be the way. Often people with dementia lose the feeling of being hungry and too much can overwhelm them. Try small portions on a big plate so that it doesnt seem so much. Is he having problems using a knife and fork now? Finger foods might help. Mum will sometimes say that she is not hungry, but if you put a bowl of cheese cubes grapes and little savoury biscuits next to her while you are chatting she will dip in and before you know it the food is gone.