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She eats only cereal. Nothing else....

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Thank you all for your answers, they have been very helpful.
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I couldn't tell where your aunt lives, but with dementia, I would be more concerned with her living alone than her eating cereal. If she's alone, she may start a fire, allow a stranger into the house, wander, etc. The risks of her being alone seem much more dangerous for her than her diet. In fact, I would be grateful that she was not using the stove to cook, since that could be quite dangerous.

If she is not living alone and you provide the food, then I would offer her other nutritious food, but not be too concerned about her diet. I'd discuss Vitamin D with her doctor since soft bones can be a problem with fractures and falls. Since dementia is terminal, I would just try to keep her happy and if the cereal does that, I wouldn't let that bother me.
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And what is the importance of nutrition for your 76 yo aunt who has the terminal condition of dementia?

Will it improve her memory? Help her focus? Reduce her confusion? Cure or even improve her dementia? Enable her to live longer? Help her be happier?

This may sound facetious or sarcastic, but I am perfectly serious. I understood why I tried to teach my children the importance of good nutrition; I know why I try to apply the principles in my own eating (at least most of the time.) But it is really not so clear to me why it is important for a person with dementia.

I am not anti-nutrition but I am pro-pleasure.

Dry cereal (which is usually enriched or fortified, etc.) with milk (I'd make it whole milk) doesn't sound the absolute worst. Are you responsible for organizing her meals? Try offering a small dish of sliced banana or strawberries or blueberries, etc. next to the cereal. Tell her she can put it in her cereal if she'd like to. No pressure, no lectures, just make it available.

How about an afternoon snack of a milkshake? My husband's favorite was the Elvis special -- a little ice cream, a little milk, an envelope of Carnation Instant Breakfast, a scoop of peanut butter, half a banana, and chocolate syrup to taste. Or start with strawberry kefir and add fresh strawberries and maybe a little ice cream. Serve this in an old-fashioned ice cream fountain glass, on a small plate, perhaps with a doily under the glass. Aunt doesn't have a soda fountain milkshake glass? Buy her one! :) Again, no lectures, no conflicts, just an attractive item she can eat or not as she chooses.

Also consider this: tastes change. Aunt will want only cereal on Monday, and Tuesday, and every day until a week from Thursday. Then she will tell you she hates cereal, she has always hated it, and who ever hear of cereal for dinner, anyway. Sigh.

Aunt is not going to understand your explanations of the importance of nutrition, or if she does she isn't going to remember it or connect it to what she eats. She has dementia. Her brain is no longer working in that way.

Don't talk about it. Just make a few healthy items available to supplement what she insists on eating.
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I've noticed that if my mother doesn't do something for a while, she forgets how to do it. If she does something every day, she remembers. I'm sure it has to do with her loss of ability to plan and organize. Cooking things is actually a complicated series of steps. I know that soon I'll have to take over cooking her breakfast, but it's good for her to do it as long as she can.

Funny -- I have to stay away from her when she's cooking. She'll make a mess if I don't. Too much distraction.
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Good insight, Jessie. Makes sense to minimizei changes; it's easier to remember less as dementia progresses.
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People with dementia zero in on routine foods. My mother prepares two meals a day for herself. They are usually the same thing, with no variation. I think it may be because she has the process down pat. As long as she does things consistently, she can remember how to do them. I make her main meal, so I try to make it as nutritious as possible. Sometimes she'll even eat the vegetables. :(
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Another thought - given her dementia, perhaps that's the only thing that she knows how to fix. As dementia advances, putting together meals becomes more challenging.

Perhaps it's time to get Meals on Wheels for her?
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Are they high sugar cereals? Elders seem to have a craving for sugary foods.

Or perhaps it's just easier to fix. Is she living alone? Is she comfortable cooking or microwaving frozen meals?

I'd be concerned as well about getting a well rounded diet - she's missing fresh produce and fruit as well as meat.
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