Dining Experience in Advanced Dementia Care

“People who reach the advanced stage of dementia when food intake is curtailed have a low metabolic rate. Their resting metabolic rate is low because muscle wasting has shrunk their lean body mass and their brains are atrophic. their metabolic rate above basal is low because they are physically inactive.” (Aldridge 2006) Finally, they have a history of weight loss, which the body adapts to by diminishing its metabolic rate and retaining dietary protein more effectively. This adapted state can persist indefinitely. Hoffer writers, that “severely demented people may be thin and eat less food than seems appropriate to their physically active (and not infrequently overweight) doctors, nurses, and surrogate decision makers. but in many if not most cases they are not progressively starving. They are in a state of physiological homeostasis.” (Hoffer 2006)
Nevertheless, in some patients, the weight loss profile shows that, without tube feeding, death by starvation is unavoidable. Thus, the problem of tube feeding is being discussed.
Music therapy is a treatment which uses music and its components (melody, rhythm, vocal and instrumental performance, and so on) to make the patient heighten his perception, improve his “ability to use speech, motorics, socialization and, to open up to his unconscious self.” (Edwards 2002) “Musical stimuli like tones or melodies are known to be processed in the secondary auditory cortex in the right superior temporal gyrus.”