slowlygrieving Asked October 2009

Does Dementia affect the taste buds?

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Husband with Dementia (FTD)put garlick and a mixture of Rosemary and other spices on his Oatmeal. He always used brn sugar/milk before. I fixed it with the Brown sugar and milk he ate a few bites and then grabbed the garlick and spices.

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Frannie Nov 2011
My 74 yr old sister takes a pill for dementia (6 mo. now) constantly complains of salt in her mouth, her lips have crusty salt taste in a.m. Can the pill cause this? Her Dr. does not seem to know what to do with her..just keeps her on it and adds something else to try. The "dementia" pill has helped her mind and she is afraid to go off it.
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lmw124 Dec 2009
My mom who is 87 complains that she can't taste anything and nothing has any flavor. She also has lost her appetite and has to be encouraged to eat. This was sort of a gradual process over the last ten years. When I was taking care of her in her home, I would give her the spice shaker and she would add a lot of spice, and salt, to her food. Now that she is in the nursing home she complains a lot about the food being bland and she can't taste it. I think as a person gets older their taste buds die off. Part of it also is that mom has trigeminal neuralgia and they have given her so many pain shots in her mouth and face that it has killed off her taste buds. At times the pain from the neuralgia is so bad she can't eat or talk. Currently she is on a lot of medication just so she can be pain-free when she eats and talks, and the medication causes her to be drowsy and unstead on her feet, so she is in a wheelchair most of the time. I took care of her for five years in her home, but when she started falling and then dementia she was put in the nursing home.
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Cat Dec 2009
It really depends on the individual. One thing you might consider is oral hygiene if their taste buds seem to have changed. If their tongues are coated and they are not brushing properly then that can account for alot of changes that seem odd. Especially if they are eating alot of processed foods and sweets it can really throw things off.

No need to use harsh mouthwash - you can use warm water with a little salt for a mouthwash. There is an excellent product made by Biotene that has no alcohol and really works well as a pre-brush rinse, especially if flossing is not an option. My mom will not floss - but this and a good quality electric toothbrush make all the difference.

On the plus side, if they have better oral health, and can taste better then it is easier to give them healthy well cooked food. Having good nutrition over a long time helps with behaviour and mood too - -not just health. And if they live with you, helping out in the kitchen while you cook one of their specialities from when they were young can be fun.
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NancyH Dec 2009
When we get older our taste buds die off to a certain extent. I read somewhere the last taste buds that leave us are salty and sweet. Which is probably why so many seniors dump both salt and sugar on everything.
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LoisW Oct 2009
Dementia interferes with the way the brain processes information, the incoming stimuli (sound, visual, touch, smell, and taste). Dementia skews the way a person interprets his/her environment. So, taste certainly can be impacted by dementia. The phenomenon can be likened to telephone wire or electric wire that is cut. The signal is going in but can't get through to where is needs to go for processing.
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aew2004 Oct 2009
If you have a parent who has dementia, I think the best way is to go on the internet and do your research where you may find more answers that what you asked for and it would be a richer way to enable you to handle the situation.
God bless
Aew2004
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Char6626 Oct 2009
My Dad everything he ate always tasted the same.....my sister is now 88 living with us, and just pours salt on everything before she tastes it. I don't know if it's a dementia thing or just body deteriorating thing......OR plain OLD AGE. Garlic is good for everybody anyhow, or so THEY say.....let him pour it on:)
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PCVS Oct 2009
My mom has never been much for sweet tastes but now even less so. I suspect, at least in my mother's case, it's her medication which has caused her sense of taste to become less sensitive.
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