Endless ice cream? A new preference for pickles? Eating quirks and new food preferences can be a side effect of brain changes associated with many dementias, as the person loses a sense of the meaning of flavors. When added to the loss of sense of smell and taste, which are also common dementia symptoms, your loved one may not realize that a food is stale or unsafe to eat.
Beware of these dangerous eating habits:
Eating foods that have gone bad. Periodically check "sell by" dates and routinely clear spoiled food from the refrigerator.
Not consuming a varied diet. As he or she relies more on habit to compensate for loss of immediate memory, there might be a tendency to overeat the same foods, or favorite foods, to the exclusion of others.
Eating foods that aren't food at all. People with dementia have been known to choke on wooden or plastic fruit they perceived as real; drink facial products that have pictures of citrus on them, thinking it was a fruit drink; and eat paint chips, paper bits, or other dangerous substances.