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Food Served on Bright Yellow Plates Can Help Dementia Patients Remember to Eat

Jul 07, 2016 02:37 AM EDT
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taste of yellow
A hospital in England is replacing their white plates with bright yellow ones after they found that it could help patients with dementia eat more.
(Photo : ithread / Flickr)

Medical experts found that dementia patients eat better on yellow plates than the nondescript white ones.

Medical experts conducted a trial scheme at the dementia ward of the Furness General Hospital in Barrow, England, where patients with dementia were served food on bright canary-yellow plates during mealtimes.

According to medical experts, dementia patients experience difficulties in seeing things and often fail to recognize food served on white plates.

Moreover, dementia sufferers often forget to eat and drink, and this may cause increased delirium and lead to rapid weight loss, which can be especially risky to older people.

"People with dementia often experience visual problems, including not being able to distinguish between different colors. Studies have shown that this can compound difficulties at mealtimes," Dianne Smith, matron for dementia at the University Hospitals Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, said in a report by the North-West Evening Mail.

"If the crockery is a similar color to the food being served then a person with dementia may not be able to see the contrast and recognize the food that is there to be eaten," Smith added.

During the pilot scheme in Furness General Hospital, experts found that the dementia patients were encouraged to eat 10 extra grams of their meals after the food was served on yellow plates compared to the plain alternatives.

"Some patients find mealtimes harder than others so the new crockery will help those patients who may need additional support," Sue Smith, executive chief nurse at the University Hospitals Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, said in the same report.

"The use of colour in crockery also helps stimulate interest in patients with dementia, enhances food presentation but it also encourages appetite."

The new plates and bowls, which are called "the freedom range," are also designed to have high sides to make it easier for patients to eat when they are feeling ill. The new plates are also being used in the public canteens.

The Royal Voluntary Service has issued a grant that will allow every patient at the Furness General Hospital, including two other hospitals Westmorland General in Kendal and the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, to benefit from the new eating psychology scheme.

According to Mail Online, researchers from the Design Council and the Department of Health have also found that the aroma of Coronation chicken, a poultry dish commonly flavored with curry powder or paste, as well as fish, chips and Bakewell tart, a popular English confection, could also stimulate the appetites of dementia patients.

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