Adult Day Health Care

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Locations in Herndon Harbor, Lewinsville, Lincolnia and Mount Vernon. Open 7 a.m. - 5:30 p.m., Monday - Friday.

TTY 711

Marjorie Burris, DNP, MSN, RN,
Adult Day Health Care Program Manager

Sweet Control: How a Mindful Diet Helps Dementia Sufferers

Submitted by ndawso on Thu, 03/08/2018 - 12:24 pm

Daughter offers elderly mother soup to taste on a spoonMany dementia sufferers crave sweets. That’s because as we age, we lose our taste buds. And, those responsible for that “sweet” taste are the last to go.

Overloading on sweets is good for no one, but especially dementia sufferers. It’s a simple equation: more sweets = more calories consumed = weight gained = decreased mobility and physical health.

But there are things you can do to both curb the cravings and calories associated with sweets.

Controlling cravings is particularly difficult when your memory is compromised, said Susan Yohe, the center nurse coordinator at Lincolnia Adult Day Health Care. You need strategies to keep consumption in check.
  1. Don’t eat alone: Eating as a group enhances the activity because it promotes cognitive engagement, and that in turn helps the person to eat more considerately and healthily. At Adult Day Health Care, our participants enjoy two meals and one snack together daily.
  2. Get everyone cooking: Incorporate your loved one into the food preparation process so he or she can enjoy all the steps of the meal.
  3. Substitute the sugar for a healthier sweet: Switch candy for a sweet fruit, like grapes or orange slices. Craving ice cream? Then make a smoothie made with frozen fruit and yogurt instead.
  4. Get full: Make sure your meals are fiber-forward. Fiber makes you feel fuller, and it is also healthy for digestion.
  5. Organize your day: Adopt the calendar method we have at Adult Day Health Care. Create an agenda for the day that your loved one can reference, and include meal times and menus. That way, your loved one has a reference as to where he or she is in the day in terms of meals.

Satisfy the Sweet Craving With Healthy Butternut Squash Soup

This recipe checks several boxes: it is rich in fiber, it is sweet yet lower in calories and it is easy to make with your loved one. Adjust to your taste by adding a pinch of ground chipotle for some heat or by substituting olive oil for coconut oil to have a little island flavor in the background. This is great on its own served with fun toppings like croutons or turkey bacon.


  • 1 pack of cut butternut squash (you can by a whole squash, but why bother when most stores sell them already cut into chunks)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 carrot
  • About 2 tbsp olive oil
  • About 1 tbsp honey
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chicken or vegetable broth to cover (about 3 cups)


  1. Heat the olive oil.
  2. Dice the onion, garlic and carrot, and sauté in the olive oil with medium heat until the onion is translucent.
  3. Add the butternut squash.
  4. Add the broth until the butternut squash is just barely covered, about three cups.
  5. Boil until the squash is softened, then let it cool slightly.
  6. Use a blender or immersion blender to puree the squash mixture.
  7. Add the honey, salt and pepper, and any other seasonings to taste, and simmer for a few minutes to let the flavors combine. You can add more broth if the soup is too thick.

Enjoy complimentary lunch at one of our Centers. Caregivers, come in with your loved one for lunch and a tour. Make your reservation today!

Susan Yohe, Center Nurse Coordinator, Lincolnia Adult Day Health Care
Susan Yohe, the center nurse coordinator at Lincolnia Adult Day Health Care, has decades of experience caring for older adults. Kelly Jung, office manager at our Lincolnia location, also contributed to this article. Kelly has a Bachelor of Science degree in foods, nutrition and science.

Some information sourced from How Dementia Tampers With Taste Buds, Everyday Health, 2010.

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