The population of the UK is aging, with a fifth of the population of England now over 60years old. Between 1995 and 2025, the number of people over the age of 80 is set to increase by almost half, and the number of those over 90 will double. While there is some decline in cognitive function as a result of normal aging, most older people do not develop dementia. Only about 2% of people aged between 65 and 75 have some form of dementia, and this is thought to rise to 20% in those over 80. Thus there are some 670000 people with dementia in the UK, and this figure is expected to rise to nearly 1000000 by 2021. The cost of dementia care, at 5.6% of total healthcare costs, is almost equal to that of the combined costs of cancer (3.2%) and coronary heart disease (2.5%). Twenty-five per cent of the costs of caring for this group may be attributable to the time carers spend helping with eating and drinking. Eating and drinking involve the co-ordination of complex physical and mental activity. These activities are often affected by aging as well as the progressive impairment of memory, thinking, perception, planning, organization, communication and skilled movement that characterize dementia. Consequently eating and drinking may be affected by tooth and mouth problems, poor hand-to-mouth co ordination, poor concentration, apparent food refusal, wandering away during mealtimes and the side-effects of individual drugs, polypharmacy and dysphagia.