- Many people with Alzheimer’s disease experience significant weight loss
- This makes increasing food and liquid intake very important
- Research shows that using high-contrast tableware (compared to the food/drink) can increase consumption
- Red tableware provides high contrast for light and dark food, which is why it’s a popular choice
- There are a variety of colorful tableware and dining aids that can help increase food and drink intake in people with Alzheimer’s disease
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Up to 40% of Alzheimer’s patients experience significant weight loss. So, finding a way to increase food and liquid intake for people with Alzheimer’s disease is important!
Learn how the right dining aids can help!
A Study: Visual contrast enhances food and liquid intake in advanced Alzheimer's disease1
Many studies have shown that people with dementia are less sensitive to contrast.2 So, if you serve grilled chicken and mashed potatoes on a white plate on a white tablecloth, it can be hard to distinguish between them. Could a higher contrast make it easier to see and increase food and drink consumption?
This study compared the use of white tableware and high-contrast red tableware. The study found that there was an average intake increase of 25% for food and 84% for liquid for the high-contrast intervention (red) versus baseline (white) condition.
In a follow-up study, high-contrast blue tableware increased food and liquid intake, while low-contrast red and low-contrast blue was ineffective.
The study concluded that contrast enhancement can increase food and liquid intake in people with Alzheimer’s disease.
Which food is easier to see?
Why is red tableware so popular for people with Alzheimer’s disease? 2,3
The study above found that multiple colors of tableware increased food and liquid intake; it was the high contrast that mattered. So why are there so many red plates, dishes, and cups marketed for patients with Alzheimer’s disease? Is it just because the study tested red tableware first?
The answer is simple, ideally you want a high contrast between the table and the plate/dish and a high contrast between the plate/dish and your food. Blue tableware doesn’t always show up well on dark colors, like a dark wood table while yellow work as well on light surfaces or with lighter food like mashed potatoes. Red is a color that provides high contrast for both light and dark backgrounds, which is why it is so popular.
While red is an excellent choice, you can use other colors depending on the food you are serving and the color of your table or counter. For example, if your counter is white, you could also use blue tableware or on a dark wood dining table you could try yellow. Try different colors and see what works best for you!
Explore your colored dining aid options!
1. Maddak Redware Tableware
Get the red tableware you need! Choose between a deluxe set or start off with just a plate. Both options offer high contrast to help increase food and liquid intake.
2. High-Sided Divided Dish
Color: Red / Blue
A high-sided dish helps keep your food in the container. Plus, the dividers keep your food separated when scooping against the sides of the dish.
3. Insulated Mug with Lid
Color: Red / Blue
Choose this mug to keep your drinks hot or cold! The large handle makes it easier to hold during use.
4. Dycem Non-Slip Activity Pad
Color: Red / Blue / Yellow / Green
These non-slip pads help keep everything in its place, a plate while eating, a bowl while mixing, or any other tableware. You can also use them to help create a contrast between your table and existing dishes. For example, use a yellow pad on your dark counters to help create a contrast for your black plates.
5. Foam Tubing
Color: Red / Blue
Foam tubing makes it easier for people with arthritis to hold their utensils, by increasing the handle’s diameter. This lightweight solution is great for people with less strength. The red and blue options can be used to create a color contrast for people with Alzheimer’s disease.
6. Saint-Romain Lids & Glasses
Color: Blue / Green / Orange
These brightly colored cups are an excellent choice because they can be used with or without lids depending on your needs. The handy lids have a storage compartment that snaps shut and can be used to hold pills.
7. High-Sided Dish
Easily scoop food against the high side of this dish without spilling. The non-skid feet keep your bowl in place during use.
8. Polyester Scooper Bowl
This scooper bowl offers easy access via the lower side and an easy way to scoop food onto your utensil using the higher side. It’s a helpful dining aid for people with arthritis or a limited range of motion.
9. Sammons Preston Comfy Grip Utensils
These utensils have handles with a larger diameter for a comfier grip. Great for people with a limited grip or arthritis, this silverware can even go in the dishwasher!
10. Round Scoop Dish
This dish allows you to easily use a fork or spoon to trap and scoop food against the high wall. The dark blue is a great contrast for sandwiches, pasta, rice, and other lighter foods.
11. Plate with Inside Edge
This blue plate with an inside edge is a helpful dining aid for people with Alzheimer’s disease. Order yours now!
12. Maddak Scooper Bowl with Suction Cup Base
The suction cup base on this bowl keeps it in place on your counter to reduce spills and messes. For quick clean up, the bowl can be cleaned on the top rack of the dishwasher.
13. Saint Romain Ergonomic Cutlery
Color: Blue / Green / Orange
Looking for colored cutlery? Choose from blue, green, and orange lightweight utensils. Find the fork, knife, or spoon that works for you!
- Dunne, T. E., Neargarder, S. A., Cipolloni, P. B., & Cronin-Golomb, A. (2004). Visual contrast enhances food and liquid intake in advanced Alzheimer's disease. Clinical nutrition (Edinburgh, Scotland), 23(4), 533–538. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/3sg8vs8
- Donnelly, R., Wei, C., Morrison-Koechl, J. et al. The effect of blue dishware versus white dishware on food intake and eating challenges among residents living with dementia: a crossover trial. BMC Res Notes 13, 353 (2020). Retreived from https://bit.ly/2NpZ1fv
- Felgains. (2018). Seeing red in dementia care: does the colour red stimulate appetite, or not? Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2MhPczs
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