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The Alternative Solutions Page
Dementia & Nutrition:
Recommendations for Activity Professionals and Recreation Therapists

By Sandra Stimson ADC, CALA, CDP
Executive Director,
Alternative Solutions in Long Term Care

Sandra Stimson has experience
as a corporate consultant,
Corporate Trainer and National
Speaker. Her experience is in
long term care, as Activity
Director, Director of Alzheimer's
Units and Assistant
Administrator of a 550 bed long
term care county home.  She is
Co-founder of Pet Express Pet
Therapy Club, is a Life Replay
Specialist.  Sandra implements
dementia units nationwide.  
Sandra has written several
books, Volunteer Management
Essentials for Long Term Care
and Pet Express Pet Therapy
Program. Sandra has been a
facilitator for Alzheimer's support
groups and is the Awards Chair
for the NJ Association of Activity
Professionals.  Sandra is the
Executive Director of
Council of Certified Dementia

Alternative Solutions in Long
Term Care offers resources for
health care professionals in
many areas of dementia care,
care plans, Snoezelen products,
dementia activity calendars,
adult day care calendars,
sensory calendars, reminisce
videos for dementia, activity
books, and dates to remember,
party supplies,
resources and links.
Copyright 2004- PRESENT
The Activity Director's Office
All rights reserved
Excerpts from the new book, Dietary Concerns and
Recommendations for Alzheimer’s and Dementia. A
Guide for Long Term Care Facilities and Special Care
. Sold only at
Plan and prepare all cooking events. Have all your products
available and set up prior to beginning your program. Keep
all sharps out of sight and locked up. You should have a
finished sample of what you will be making. It is
recommended that all cooking programs be offered in the
afternoon, as you have more time in the afternoon and are
not restricted by lunch hour. Offer 2 exercise programs a
day, which will increase appetite, aid in digestion and
increase desire for fluids. Before every activity, clean
resident’s hands with wipes (if possible take the resident to
the sink and wash hands) and offer scented lotions such as
coconut. This is a nice way to segway into a program and
offer stimulation to the resident.

>Provide fluids at every activity.
> Offer fluids after all exercise programs.
> Invite to all food related activities and provide supervision.
> Offer end of day tea socials.   Serve tea on fancy china and
china cups.
>Use colored cups, vs. white cups.
> Offer a weekly social. Play Cheers theme music. Serve
non-alcoholic beverages such as Pina Coladas.
> Invite residents to assist with lunch set up and meal clean
> Offer home made milkshakes and prepare with the
> Use bread machines and bake bread often.
> Watch your sharps. During the activity program, keep
knives in your pocket at all times or out of sight. It only takes
a second for an accident to happen.
> Use aromatherapy machines and electric candle
warmers while setting up for programs.
> Play soft music before and after programs.
> Incorporate more cooking programs, using: Portable
ovens, Otis Spunk Meyer Cookie Ovens, Blenders and
Microwaves Oven.
> If you have the use of a kitchen, prepare small meals with
the resident in the kitchens.
> Bring in recipe books for the resident’s to look at. Ask
them to share their favorite recipes.
> Begin a recipe book of their favorite recipes.
> Offer snacks at all special events.
> Food related word games and trivia games.
> Food Bingo
> Invite to watch cooking shows on television or video,
especially the 30 minute shows.
> Ask the resident to identify items such as squash and
apples (many kinds) and their uses.
> Plan special events, breakfast buffets, pancake
breakfasts, pizza parties, luaus, barbecues, elegant dining,
cultural events, monthly parties and birthday parties.
> Plan special meals for religious holidays.
> At club meetings serve nutritious snacks.
> Offer hydration stations that are attractive, such as clear
pitchers with floating fruit. Clear cups with lids at bedside.
Eliminate Styrofoam pitchers and cups at bedside because
they cannot do this three-step process of picking up the
pitcher and pouring liquid into the cup.
> Offer nutritious snacks during reminisce and relaxation
> Provide short lunch trips to restaurants such as
McDonalds, Cafes and Diners.
> Offer tea samplers and unique condiments.
> Display different grocery items and have them reminisce
about them. Uses and prices.
> String popcorn and cranberries for the birds to feed on
outdoors. Drape over bushes.
> Make potpourri out of dried fruit.
> Roll pinecones in peanut butter and birdseed.
> Dry fruit and sample. Can also make art projects out of
dried fruit.
> String cheerios and fancy macaroni.
> Make macaroni art. Place on construction paper and glue
> Discuss all the ways peanut butter can be used. Provide
crackers, apples and bread.
> Shuck corn and snap beans.
> Offer seasonal beverages and food such as eggnog and
peppermint ice cream.
> Make homemade lemonade and tea.
> Make popcorn and offer different seasonings for the
popcorn. Let them season with their own individual portions.
> Fold dishtowels and napkins.
> Make easy salads, potato, coleslaw, three bean, fruit
salad and corn salads.
> Share cooking stories found in reminisce magazines.
> Peel potatoes and make mashed potatoes.
> Prepare gelatin and fast setting puddings.
> Let them dry dishes, sort utensils and silverware.
> Provide history of different foods with a sampler.
> Have tea with the administrator or guest.
> Cinnamon crafts. Lots of ideas for cinnamon sticks.
> Have theme days such as Western Day.
> Have word games associated with themes; Vegetables,
Breakfast items, farm stands.
> Have residents wipe the place mats clean.
> Make seasonal murals. For November draw a cornucopia.
Let residents color vegetable items. Another idea is a mural
about a farmers market that has pictures the resident can
color of food items.
> Make simple recipes with the residents, such as fruit
salad, pigs in a blanket, Cookies and icing, ice cream pies,
apple pies, etc. Offer recipes that are theme related such as
Apple pies in September.