Why do dementia patients always feel hungry? – Dementia Care Support Guide

Dementia can indeed affect a person’s appetite and eating habits; it can lead to always feeling hungry, overeating, or increased appetite in some cases. Always feeling hungrey can be attributed to various factors associated with dementia, such as memory loss, medication reactions, and difficulty recognising when one is full. Dementia patients may forget that they’ve already eaten or become more impulsive with their food choices, resulting in excessive consumption (overeating).

Additionally, changes in brain function can disrupt the body’s hunger and fullness signals. Carers/Caregivers often need to monitor and regulate a dementia patient’s diet to ensure they maintain a healthy nutritional balance, as excessive eating can contribute to weight gain and other health complications in individuals with dementia.

Understanding dementia patients’ constant hunger, increased appetite, or overeating is crucial, as it impacts not only the physical well-being of patients but also their quality of life. By unravelling this mystery, find out the practical guidance and strategies to manage this insatiable appetite effectively and improve the overall well-being of those living with dementia:

  • Offer frequent, smaller portions of meals and snacks.
  • Fluids.
  • Get involved with activities.
  • Food and Chit Chat
  • Limit access to food
  • It is essential to document it
  • Monitor weight
  • Reduce distractions
  • Out and about
  • Consult with a dietitian

Furthermore, it is crucial to acknowledge that individuals suffering from dementia often struggle with remembering their last meal or identifying between hunger and other sensations like thirst. In light of this, caregivers and healthcare professionals must collaborate and adopt effective strategies to address these challenges. One such strategy involves offering nutrient-rich fluids, a variety of fruit juices, and a cup of water with a straw (preferably a yellow-coloured cup specifically labelled as water) to manage dementia patients increased appetite and prevent overeating.

It is important to approach this topic with sensitivity, as individuals with dementia and their carers/caregivers may already be dealing with several challenges related to the disease. Healthcare professionals should prioritise creating a supportive and empathetic environment for those affected by dementia.

Dementia and Hunger:

Caring for someone with dementia who is “always hungry, overeating, eating too much, or has an increased appetite” can be a challenging task to manage in dementia care, specifically at home. However, it is critical to realise that you are making a difference in their lives by improving dementia care at home. 

Hundreds of caregivers and carers have promptly contributed successful dementia care strategies and techniques that can aid in managing the overeating and hunger of dementia patients to provide successful dementia care at home. By exploring these alternatives, you can find the best way to approach feeding schedules and fulfil their needs without compromising their overall health.

With patience, understanding, and a commitment to improving their lives, you can make every day better and more enjoyable for those with dementia. You are not alone in this journey, and with the right attitude and resources, you can make a lasting impact on the people you care for.

Offer frequent, smaller portions of meals and snacks.

Prepare a few smaller, rich-nutrient meals throughout the day rather than a few large meals. This can help satisfy dementia patients’ hunger without causing discomfort or overeating. Make sure the snacks are healthy, bite-sized, and easily accessible, such as cut-up fruits, vegetables, or nuts. Make sure to leave the table in front of your loved ones’ seats so that they can see.

Finger foods for dementia patients: read more


Encourage your loved ones to increase their fluid intake to stay hydrated during the day, because dehydration can feel like having an empty stomach, which could be mistaken by dementia patients for hunger. It is recommended to vary fluid intake throughout the day by offering different options and limiting fluid intake to 2-3 hours before bedtime to minimise the need to use the toilet at night. This can help promote a better sleep pattern and improve the overall quality of life.

Get involved with activities:

If someone with dementia is always craving and asking for food, try redirecting their attention to other activities. Offer non-food-related distractions like puzzles, music, dance, or engaging them in conversation.


Limit access to food:

Store unhealthy snacks or overconsumption-prone foods out of sight, and only offer them in moderation. Keep healthier snacks readily available.

Food and chit-chat:

Always talk about the snacks and meals that you are going to prepare for the day with your loved one with dementia. Offer food to those who enjoy and like to eat. Provide a balanced and varied diet, including proteins, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

It is essential to document it.

Please keep a record of dementia patients’ food intake and craving patterns. This may help identify any trends or triggers associated with their surge in appetite. Please share this information with healthcare professionals involved in their care, as it could aid in managing their condition.


Monitor weight: 

Keep track of the individual’s weight to ensure it remains within a healthy range. If there are concerns about significant weight gain, consult a healthcare provider for further guidance.


Reduce distractions:

Minimise distractions during mealtime, such as excessive noise or clutter, to help the person focus on eating.

Out and about:

Encourage light physical exercise, such as walking or gentle stretching, if the individual is capable; it’s essential in dementia care. Physical activity can help regulate appetite and provide a better sense of the overall dementia patient’s well-being.


Consult with a dietitian:

A registered dietitian with expertise in dementia care can provide personalized dietary strategies to manage appetite and nutrition for individuals with dementia.

Remember, each case of dementia is unique, so it’s essential to seek professional advice and adapt strategies to meet individual needs.

Vascular dementia and excessive appetite  

Vascular dementia, a form of dementia caused by reduced blood flow to the brain, can lead to changes in appetite and eating patterns. These changes can vary from person to person and may include an increased or decreased appetite. Here are some reasons why vascular dementia might be associated with excessive appetite:

  • Brain Damage
  • Frontal Lobe Damage
  • Emotional Factors
  • Disrupted Routine
  • Memory and Recognition Issues
  • Medications

Brain Damage:

Vascular dementia is a medical condition that may occur when the blood vessels in the brain are damaged, causing impaired functions in various areas of the brain. This condition is frequently seen in people who have had a stroke. As healthcare professionals, we must understand how this condition impairs appetite regulation and other cognitive functions. By increasing our understanding of vascular dementia, we can enhance the care we offer to individuals dealing with this condition and contribute to enhancing their quality of life at home. 

Frontal Lobe Damage:

Vascular dementia has the potential to affect the frontal lobes of the brain, which are responsible for impulse control and decision-making. This kind of damage could result in altered eating patterns, such as overeating or consuming meals at irregular intervals. 

Emotional Factors: 

Vascular dementia may elicit mood changes, specifically depression or anxiety, that can have a consequential impact on the appetite of those affected. In light of this, some individuals may resort to using food as a coping mechanism or as a means of finding solace during emotionally challenging times. 

Disrupted Routine: 

Vascular dementia can cause disruptions in daily routines, particularly during mealtimes. Irregular meal schedules or confusion about when to eat may contribute to increased appetite. 

Memory and Recognition Issues:

Individuals diagnosed with vascular dementia often experience challenges recognising satiety cues and recalling recent meals. These difficulties can contribute to overeating and weight gain if they are not appropriately managed. 


It is important to note that medications prescribed for vascular dementia and related conditions may have unintended side effects, including changes in appetite. It is recommended that patients and caregivers monitor any changes in appetite and consult with their healthcare provider if they have any concerns. Your healthcare provider can provide additional resources and support to help manage any potential side effects.

How to manage medication for a person with dementia?

Caregivers and healthcare providers must monitor changes in appetite and eating habits in individuals with vascular dementia. Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet is essential for their overall well-being. Strategies to address excessive appetite may include:

  • Offering smaller, more frequent meals and snacks.
  • Ensuring a structured and consistent mealtime routine.
  • Providing nutritious, satisfying foods that are easy to eat
  • Monitoring medication side effects that could affect appetite.
  • Addressing any emotional or psychological factors contributing to overeating

A diagnosis of vascular dementia can be a daunting reality, and adjusting to changes in appetite can be challenging. However, with the help of healthcare professionals, nutritious and hydrating meals can become a reality. Through personalisation and dedication, it is possible to address and overcome the obstacles that come with this condition. Your determination and effort can positively impact physical and mental health, leading to a higher quality of life for dementia patients. Ultimately, with access to the right tools and support, you can ensure that your loved ones with vascular dementia receive the care they deserve. Together, we can provide the necessary resources to promote health, wellness, and happiness.

Dementia patients refuse to eat and drink; why? 


Losing appetite or refusing to eat or drink is very common in patients with dementia. The loss of interest in food can lead to poor nutrition, weight loss, and a decline in overall well-being. 

To unlock the appetite and encourage nourishing meals, caregivers and loved ones must employ creative strategies that cater to the unique challenges faced by individuals with dementia. read



The effective management of medication for individuals with dementia is crucial to promoting their well-being care at home. Caregivers/carers face numerous obstacles when dealing with forgetfulness, confusion, and agitation. Dedicated support in the form of dementia care is often the best solution to mitigate these difficulties and improve the overall quality of life for those under their care. read


Useful links:

Dementia Care Support Guide: How to reduce the risks of dementia?

Dementia Care Support Guide: What to do when a dementia patient refuses to eat?


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What are your thoughts? 

Would you like to add more information, How do you deal with someone who has dementia and is always hungry?

Dear valued carers, caregivers, husbands, wives, daughters, and sons,

We respectfully invite you to share your experience and valuable insights on caring for someone with dementia in their own home. Your approaches and techniques could provide essential solutions to others facing similar challenges and difficulties. We would be grateful if you could spare a few moments to complete the form below and share your thoughts and experiences.

We appreciate your dedication and commitment to caring for your loved ones living with dementia, and your contributions will assist us in continuing to develop and improve our support guide for caregivers. On behalf of the Dementia Care Support Guide team, we extend our sincere gratitude and appreciation for your consideration and willingness to share your expertise.

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