There are many reasons why people with advanced demtentia might lose weight. This new information booklet for family caregivers from Palliative Care Australia discusses several reasons and offers ideas on how to support the individual.
Involuntary weight loss of more than 5% of the body weight is called “cachexia”. Cachexia is common with people with advanced progressive illnesses including dementia.
For health care workers and professionals this is a useful tool to read, understand and share. For lay caregivers it is an excellent resource to increase understanding, promote dialogue with family/loved ones, and to assist in decision making regarding interventions.
Decreasing intake and/or involuntary weight loss are so very difficult for family and loved ones to witness. The more prepared we are to provide support, information, and resources, the better able we will be to support the dying AND their loved ones.