Food for Thought: Weight Loss and Nutrition in Persons with Dementia

Recorded Monday, November 13, 2017


Kenya Rivas, MD, CMD; Elizabeth Hames, DO, CMD; Suzanne Cryst, RDN, CSG, LD

Nutritional care and support should be central to dementia management. At all stages in the disease course, the decision to pursue or forego nutritional interventions should be made on an individual basis. A patient-centered, inter-professional team approach in post-acute and long-term care (PALTC) that balances expected benefit and potential burden can help to optimize remaining function and enhance quality of life.

This session will discuss the pathophysiological and behavioral changes affecting adequate nutritional status and weight in persons with dementia. The talk will also cover evidence-based recommendations for recognition, assessment, and management of nutritional problems and weight loss associated with dementia in the PALTC environment. Non- pharmacologic strategies for optimization will be presented, and recommendations for appropriate use of pharmacologic agents will be discussed. In addition, patient – centered management of nutrition near the end of life will be reviewed. Interactive case-based scenarios will be utilized during the presentation.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the specific physiologic mechanisms and behavioral changes impacting nutrition and weight loss in persons with dementia.
  • List evidence-based guideline recommendations for nutrition in persons with dementia.
  • Describe obstacles, effective interventions, and outcomes related to feeding, weight loss, and nutrition in persons with dementia in the PALTC environment.


1.5 CME, 1.5 CMD clinic
CME/CMD Credits Available until November 2020

Member Non-Member


Speaker Biography:

Kenya Rivas, MD, CMD, is an Assistant Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Geriatrics at Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She completed her Family Medicine Residency and the Geriatric Fellowship at Florida Hospital, Orlando, Florida in 2009, joining NSU-COM thereafter. Since then, she has been instrumental in helping to establish various Geriatric educational programs for trainees at many levels at NSU-COM. Dr. Rivas has co-authored several case reports in peer-reviewed journals, she has been lecturing in Geriatrics at local and national level conferences and has co- authored a chapter in the Primary Care: Clinics in Office Practice, “Evaluation and Management of the Older Adult with Chronic Kidney Disease” with colleagues at NSU-COM. Currently, she is involved in different projects aiming to enhance the care of the geriatric patients, like the Quality Improvement Project that took place in a local nursing home, focusing on improving the quality of life for residents with diabetes on a strict insulin regimen in the Long-Term-Care; also in the implementation of the “ Antimicrobial Stewardship Program” in the Nursing Homes, following CDC recommendations in 2014, that all US hospitals have an antibiotic stewardship program due to bacterial, antiviral and antifungal resistance reaching alarming level across the world. Dr Rivas is also an active CME-member of FMDA-The Florida Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, where she was recently nominated as a board director.

Elizabeth Hames, DO, CMD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Geriatrics at the Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine at Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Hames is the Associate Program Director for the Geriatric Medicine Fellowship at Broward Health. Dr. Hames serves on AMDA’s Clinical Practice Committee, is a member of the Florida Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Board of Directors, Education, and Communication Committees, and is editor of the Society’s Progress Report. Her research interests include applications of geographic information systems to populations of socially and medically vulnerable older adults and analysis of patterns of aging in place.

Suzanne Cryst, RDN, CSG, LD, is a registered dietitian nutritionist with a Certification Specialty in Gerontological Nutrition and is currently employed at Hickory Ridge Nursing & Rehab Center in Akron Ohio. Ms. Cryst currently serves on AMDA’s Clinical Practice Guidelines Committee and is a member of the Ohio Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Board of Directors. She also serves on various committees for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics and its Ohio Affiliate, and the Ohio Malnutrition Prevention Commission.

Speaker Disclosures:

All members of the education and online education committees have no financial relationships to disclose. Society staff have no financial relationships to disclose. Speakers of this program have no financial relationships to disclose.