Dairy products are also an issue. Will a care home supply soy milk or vegan cheese for instance? Custard Cream biscuits or home made cakes may contain ingredients that don't fit with a vegan diet. Care homes can only do their best to cater to what the person is thought to believe but if they themselves have lost that filter - and eat other food - things get rather muddy, practically and ethically.
Whether it is learned behaviour (eg use of toilet), social norms, ethical choice, or beliefs, dementia will not differentiate when stripping the person of the dignity that defines them.
I wonder how far you can take this though. Fair enough if someone requires a vegan or vegetarian diet, then it should be provided, just as it should be for a diabetic person. However, imagine if you had 80 residents and they all wanted different sweeteners in their tea or coffee. I have no idea how staff could keep a check on what each patient was using and should we expect that of staff?
Perhaps if someone with dementia who has been vegan or vegetarian for any number of years, decides that a piece of meat on a neighbouring plate looks very appetising then all the reasons they had those beliefs originally no longer exist in the realms of rational thought for that person.
Could it be that vegans and vegetarians with dementia are drawn to picking from other people's plates due to the food presentation rather than a craving for meat? For example, if you offer a vegan person with dementia a plate of overcooked, soggy vegetables.
What about mid afteroon , tea and biscuits ?
Care home respects a vegan dietry requirement for Dorothy, who herself takes custard cream, or a peice of Eileen's birthday cake,neither of which are vegan?
This question raises a lot of issues. You could ask the same question about food, religion, gender, euthenasia.
What if you consented to euthanasia a few years ago but now dementia has changed you. You no longer want that. I Would hope you would ignore there previous wishes and hold true to who they are now. Because to euthanise someone who no longer consents is straight up murder regardless of their mental capacity, Or especially because of their mental capacity. And I think we have to follow that line of logic. Respect the person they are now.
I do worry though how many people are comfortable with stealing food off someone else’s plate 😂😂