Stimulating appetite in people with dementia
It’s been suggested that nearly half of people with dementia don’t eat enough. As a result, they experience weight loss and malnutrition.
It was interesting to read about a new device called Ode, designed specifically for people with dementia to encourage them to eat more.
Ode works by emitting delicious food smells three times a day, which encourages patients to eat and stay healthy.
In tests with over 50 dementia patients, over half gained 2kg in weight during the 11 week trial.
The device was created as part of a UK government project called Living Well with Dementia.
The project encouraged designers to create intuitive, design-based solutions to improve the lives of those with neurological diseases, including dementia.
According to reports: “Dementia patients often become depressed and disconnected from their diet — which usually consists of meals prepared by overloaded care givers — but familiar fragrances can be used to stimulate their appetite, since the sense of smell is directly connected to both emotion and memory.”
Ode emits three different food fragrances during each day, with each aromatic cue released in gradual waves of air over approximately three hours.
The device can be personalised for each person with dementia, with current scents including Braised Beef Casserole, Black Forest Gateau and Homemade Curry.
The device costs £270 plus VAT which includes a starter pack of fragrances. An annual subscription consisting of an Ode device and a year of fragrances costs £350 plus VAT.
With rising life expectancy and a higher propensity for age-related diseases – including dementia – innovations like this one from Ode are positive to see and could make a big contribution to some of the challenges faced by carers of those with dementia.