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  1. #1
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    How do I get Grandparents to admit they need help with food?!

    Hello

    Grandma has been diagnosed with alzheimers a few months ago and her condition is rapidly getting worse. Grandad probably has something similar, or at best servere memory problems.

    Grandma was once a very good cook but now is sturggling to make anything, even warming through something in the oven is now a problem and more often is burnt. The problem is she cannot work the cooker or microwave, keeps forgetting and thinks they are faulty so keeps wanting to buy a new one. In reality she has forgotten how to work both and keeps turning the oven and grill up to full blast regardless of what food is put in there. (She has peeled off the sticker my mum put on saying do not use the grill). Im worried she will injure herself as it gets so hot. She is unable to make a list of food to buy as her ability to spell is going and so she just picks up random food from the supermarket. Often there is little in the fridge or freezer. She still enjoy foods but has lost weight which is concerning, Grandad however is still his plump self!

    Grandad has never cooked in their 62 years of marriage, nor does he know how to work kitchen appliances so he wont start now. He can't even make a cup of tea so he isn't able to take over. They have tried driving to their favourite restaurant (thats another issue) but keep getting lost so go home and end up eating soup and then a sandwich later on.

    They are both proud and very private people. Grandma is stubborn, highly strung and will not admit there is anything wrong. The mere mention of meals on wheels or online asda shopping delivered to her door is met with an emphatic no; she becomes very defensive. Plus, she has a very strict daily routine which wont be altered as their main meal is always at lunch so the family cant be around to help her make it due to work commitments.

    People say you can't help those who don't want to be helped, but it sso hard watching her struggle. Grandma I'm sure knows there is something wrong (we didnt tell her the diagnosis as it would upset her too much) but wont admit it.

    So I have read the factsheet on healthy meals, helping prepare food etc but that doesn't apply to my situation just yet. Im so worried they arent eating properly or she will hurt herself on the oven. A lot of the time she has hardly any food int he house other than a mountain of fruit, milk and biscuits! How can I get them to eat proper food if they aren't willing to let us help?

    Any suggestions to get round this would be appreciated.

    Thanks
     

  2. #2
    That is such a hard one. It really is almost impossible to get someone to accept help who doesn't want it. Would your grandmother respond to an authority figure such as a doctor telling her what she needs to do for her health?

    What I find of major concern is that she is still using the cooker and grill when not capable of doing so. I recommend disabling the cooker. I realize that's quite draconian but I strongly feel it is more important to keep our loved ones safe. How you are to accomplish this, I'm not certain. Disable it then say it needs repairs? Would that work?

    What does your grandfather have to say in all this? Also, I know you don't want to tell her she has dementia (and I never was able to with my mother) but you might want to skirt the issue with "memory not being what it used to be", which worked for us.
    Joanne
    Carer and Volunteer Moderator
    When you've seen one person with Alzheimer's, you've seen one person with Alzheimer's
     

  3. #3
    During the 80`s and 90`s I lived quite close to both my mother and grandmother when their ability , to feed themselves properly became an issue.

    We took on the responsibility of shopping for them and took them a cooked meal every evening and at weekends.

    I couldn`t have done it alone, as I don`t drive, but Dhiren was a brilliant support during those years. We were cooking for ourselves so just cooked extra.

    If you are able to do this it will take a weight off your shoulders.

    Sylvia

    Former Carer and Volunteer Moderator .

    I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet

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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Canadian Joanne View Post
    That is such a hard one. It really is almost impossible to get someone to accept help who doesn't want it. Would your grandmother respond to an authority figure such as a doctor telling her what she needs to do for her health?

    What I find of major concern is that she is still using the cooker and grill when not capable of doing so. I recommend disabling the cooker. I realize that's quite draconian but I strongly feel it is more important to keep our loved ones safe. How you are to accomplish this, I'm not certain. Disable it then say it needs repairs? Would that work?

    What does your grandfather have to say in all this? Also, I know you don't want to tell her she has dementia (and I never was able to with my mother) but you might want to skirt the issue with "memory not being what it used to be", which worked for us.
    If we were to disable the cooker she would probably go out and buy a new one. She keeps telling us the oven and microwave is at fault so dont think we could do that. Grandad still beleives everything Grandma says, he can't help her out, he just lets us know when the food has been burnt. She says her memory isnt what it use to be and that is the line we are taking too.
     

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grannie G View Post
    During the 80`s and 90`s I lived quite close to both my mother and grandmother when their ability , to feed themselves properly became an issue.

    We took on the responsibility of shopping for them and took them a cooked meal every evening and at weekends.

    I couldn`t have done it alone, as I don`t drive, but Dhiren was a brilliant support during those years. We were cooking for ourselves so just cooked extra.

    If you are able to do this it will take a weight off your shoulders.

    Trouble is they have such an entrenched routine they have to have a hot main meal at lunch time so they wouldnt wait for us in the evening and just burn the food probably.
     

  6. #6
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    Could you just leave suitable food there for them to fit into their routine? The fruit, milk and biscuits you describe are not a bad start. No cooking required
    What about adding cheese, yoghurt and muesli or cereal?
     

  7. #7
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    My aunt (94, no dementia, but Parkinsons and other problems) found Wiltshire Farm Foods meals wonderful as they delivered a fortnight's worth right into her freezer for her. They were "bung in the microwave" and you didn't even need to remember to pierce the bag or anything. Might they be worth a try? But if she rejects all prepared stuff like that completely, then disconnecting the cooker and stocking up with cheese, cold ham, yogurts, tinned tuna, etc and tins or packets of good filling soups perhaps seems the only answer. (If you're round there regularly then the packets or tubs of fresh soup might be an idea, really substantial and with a sellby date of a couple of weeks). There's no law of nutrition that says we need a hot dinner. Are they safe making hot drinks between them?

    If it's any help, do tell Grandma that my aunt found the frozen meals were a brilliant idea because she was getting very tired standing at the stove etc and found shopping really exhausting, and she so appreciated not having to spend any effort on shopping and cooking her meals, it meant she had more energy left for the things she really wanted to do like going out and playing bridge! She'd been a proper cook in her day, but decided latterly that she'd save her limited energy for the important things in life. She'd actually trained in dietetics in about 1938, and reckoned that with one of the frozen meals she'd "done her duty to herself" in terms of nutrition for the day. She still shopped, but just for extras. Good luck.
     

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Butter View Post
    Could you just leave suitable food there for them to fit into their routine? The fruit, milk and biscuits you describe are not a bad start. No cooking required
    What about adding cheese, yoghurt and muesli or cereal?
    I think stocking in all the cold things is a good idea-its just the protein Im concerned about-I suppose you could have cold ham etc. They do like having a hot meal midday though
     

  9. #9
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    Thanks-really helpful ideas

    Thanks Pam D-your suggestion of Wilshire Farm foods has been really helpful. So long as I can get her to work the microwave we should be fine, lot better than using the oven. Im just having a look at the website. She can still handle a kettle just about for hot drinks. Hearty soups also a good idea. Really appreciate yours and everyone elses ideas. They seem obvious but you dont always think these things when you are stuck in the middle of a problem.
     

  10. #10
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    My grandmother - a very good cook and a practical women who just got old (not demented) - adjusted her diet to foods she could manage. She had trouble with her teeth and with her hands and her appetite shrank. She couldn't open tins/jars etc. She couldn't beat eggs. She couldn't manage the washing up even if she managed a little cooking. She lived off muesli and milk for years and was fine. She had whiskey in the evening. Her treat. In fact, she died the night of her birthday, having gone to stay with my parents. They carefully cooked her a special meal which I think will have just been too much for her. And she will have tried to eat it to please them.
    I remember being told that it is not uncommon in A and E to find older people who have been taken out for the day by their families. Everyone has done their best but the combination of the excursion and the unfamiliar foods in the restaurants is too much.
     

  11. #11
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    Cartons of fruit smoothies are good too.
     

 

 

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