Alzheimer’s Family Center Implements Nutrition Enhancement Project for Dementia Patients

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The O.L. Halsell Foundation is helping to create happier and healthier days for the dementia patients that Alzheimer’s Family Center (AFC) serves daily by investing in its Nutrition Enhancement Program across fiscal year 2017.

Alzheimer's Family Center in Huntington Beach, CA serves brain healthy meals to patients with dementia.

Alzheimer’s Family Center now serves a greater variety of brain healthy foods, rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids to the 100 memory-impaired patients daily.

Serving brain healthy foods to dementia patients

The Foundation’s recent $35,000 grant that was awarded to Alzheimer’s Family Center is enabling us to introduce a greater variety of brain healthy foods, rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, into the dietary plans of the close to 100 memory-impaired patients we serve daily through our adult day health care programs.

Funds are being used to purchase a wider range of nutrient rich foods, and to offset some of the expenses required to conduct dietary assessments and to enhance each patient’s individualized nutrition plan. Funds will cover the cost of 3,914 enhanced meals monthly.

Development of the new menu

AFC’s Consultant Dietitian Cynthia Stivers, MS, RD, created a Mediterranean-inspired diet, rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. Scientifically proven to be beneficial to the brain, and in many instances part of a plan to slow down the progression of brain diseases like dementia, this healthy brain diet is now served to all AFC’s patients for breakfast, lunch, and during the afternoon snack.

The new menu includes a greater variety of fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as brain healthy foods. Here are a few examples of ingredients that were added to the menu:

  • Salmon
  • Albacore Tuna
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Chia seeds
  • Avocadoes
  • Spinach
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Eggplant
  • Legumes such as black beans, lentils, or chickpeas (hummus)

“These are all ingredients that are of optimal quality and greatly beneficial to one’s brain, but they are also more costly,” says Cynthia Stivers, MS, RD. “They would have been cost prohibitive without the support of the O.L. Halsell Foundation.”

Tailoring the menu to the population we serve

AFC’s Dietitian, Senior Director of Programs, Manager of Programs, Manager of Nursing, Speech Therapist, and Meal Coordinator worked closely together to navigate challenges like swallowing, chewing, or choking hazards. Ingredients like nuts, quinoa, kale, or asparagus; although greatly beneficial for the brain were not included in the menu because of these reasons.

Examples of AFC’s new menu, developed with the Nutrition Enhancement Project:

DAY 1

Breakfast

Mashed Avocado on Toast

Lunch

Rainbow Trout with Sweet Tomato
Salsa over Rice
Butternut Squash
Flour Tortillas
Diced Pears
Milk
Snack

Chia Seed Pudding with Mixed Berries
Milk

DAY 2

Breakfast

Oatmeal with Fruit

Lunch

Split Pea Soup
Albacore Tuna Sandwich on Flat Bread
Crushed Pineapple
Milk

Snack

Greens Smoothie (Spinach, Cucumber, Apple, and Blackberry)
String Cheese

DAY 3

Breakfast

Cheesy Beans on Toast

Lunch

Black Bean Stew over Rice
Corn Bread and Margarine
Mandarin Oranges
Milk

Snack

Chicken Salad
Whole Grain Crackers
Fruit-Infused Water

About Alzheimer’s Family Center

Alzheimer's Family Center (AFC) is an independent nonprofit adult day health care provider dedicated to the daily care of individuals living with memory loss. It has a 36-year history of improving the quality of life of families challenged by Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia. Given its specialization and commitment to excellence, the center draws adult day health care patients from across Orange County, and serves nearly 100 patients daily through customized programming tailored to the needs of individuals from the earliest to most advanced stages of dementia.

The center makes a positive impact on the health and well-being of its patients, with patients experiencing 43% less falls and a 25% reduction in emergency room visits within six months of enrollment in AFC’s adult day health care services. AFC families find help from day one of receiving a dementia diagnosis, relief from the anxiety and fear of taking on the responsibilities of caregiving. AFC also provides support with the medical, emotional, and financial challenges of caring for a memory-impaired loved one.

For more information, please call 714-593-9630 or visit http://www.AFSCenter.org

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Marie Oyegun
Alzheimer's Family Center
since: 02/2009
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