Aims and objectives: To explore the degree of eating ability in people with dementia and identify what factors affect their eating ability. Background: Appropriate food consumption is important to human life. Although eating difficulties are common among people with dementia, little is known about what factors might influence their eating ability. Design: Descriptive, cross-sectional study. Methods: A total of 149 people with dementia residing in nursing facilities in Seoul or the Gyeonggi area of Korea were evaluated using the Korean Mini-Mental State Examination, Korean Activities of Daily Living Scale and Eating Behaviour Scale. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics, one-way analysis of variance, Pearson correlation coefficient and multiple regression analysis. Results: The participants showed a moderate level of dependency with respect to eating ability and were most dependent on the use of utensils. There were significant differences in eating ability according to general characteristics such as duration of residence, duration of illness, degree of visual impairment, eating place, and diet type. The eating ability of the participants was significantly correlated with cognitive function and physical function. Cognitive function, physical function, duration of illness, eating place (living room or dining room), and diet type (soft or liquid) significantly predicted eating ability in people with dementia. Conclusions: The findings of this study suggest that it is necessary to thoroughly assess the eating ability of people with dementia and to develop appropriate training programs to maintain or improve their remaining eating ability. The creation of a pleasurable physical and social environment for eating might also be helpful. Relevance to clinical practice: These findings would be able to serve a useful basis in the development of materials for nursing intervention programs for people with dementia during mealtimes by improving the techniques and care qualities of nursing caregivers.
- Older people
ASJC Scopus subject areas