Advice required - things getting serious


Registered User
Nov 23, 2003
Mum (with alzh) was a very healthy eater but has pretty much not eaten or drunk anything substantial now for 4 weeks and has been getting noticeably weaker and more disorientated. Finally I persuaded my dad to contact her consultant early last week who said to rule out physical probs like constipation he would need to go to the GP. He eventually got an appointment and took her Saturday morning where the GP has given her medication for constipation along with ENSURE fruit drinks (vitamins etc) 3 times a day. GP said he is v. concerned but doesnt want to do anything for a week and dad is to go back Friday.

Since GP visit, dad has got about 1 mouthful down her of this drink and she categorically refuses to touch it. Today she is so weak she hadnt got out of bed at 1pm. I got her to drink a few mouthfuls of water but under great protest. I really can't see her lasting until Friday in this state. After another night where she flooded her bed twice and did worse to the sofa yesterday (she refuse to wear any pads, conceals them around the house), my proud stubborn father has finally admitted he is out of his depth and is scared for her.

I am going to call the consultant in the morning myself to discuss this. We are not wanting her to go into care, I just want to get this nutrition thing sorted out quickly and then some practical advice or help for the incontinence issues.
I am not sure what to expect them to do quite frankly, any advice on what I need to be pushing for???

Also any ideas on how to get her to feed or drink ...? Dad has tried actually feeding her but she refuses or vomits.

Please, I am seriously scared for them both here....


Registered User
Jun 11, 2004
Eden - I am so sorry, you do sound desperate. Are you sure your mother isn't drinking? If she has been as incontinent as you say she must have been drinking something. It is so hard to get someone to eat/drink if they don't want to. All I can suggets is making sure drinks are around and freshly replaced frequently so she can pick one up if she wants to. If you have battles - however lovingly meant - my experince is that she will just get more and more stubborn.


Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
The whole range of eating, drinking, constipation and incontinence situations can be a bit of a problem.

Firstly, feeding someone who does not want to be fed is not likely to be successful. Ensure can be a useful supplement, but only if the person will drink that!

Definitely worth understanding is whether constipation is causing problems. Movicol is general prescribed, but that didn't work for my wife - she just wouldn't take it at the time [she does now, at the home].

I bought lactulose from the pharmacy, and laced cold drinks with it - that did work, though at first I overdid the frequency and got the other problem - incontinuence. That was cured when I reduced the lactulose.

The only other time that Jan had problems and wet the bed was when she fainted in her sleep. Jan's vascular dementia [as well as Alzheimer's] caused the faints - or fits, or mini strokes.... whatever they were [no-one really ever knew].

It could be that your Mum is also fainting in her sleep - I guess your Dad would know.

Regarding eating - I found that a major problem late on, but before that I simply tried lots of different foods to find what she would/could eat, and just gave her those. Frankly, I just gave up on trying a healthy diet and if she just wanted tea and biscuits all the time, then that's what she had.

This works for a while, but results in weight loss and health problems over time. The food issues wax and wane and, while Jan would eat very little at home three years ago, she now eats more than I do each day, at her care home.

It may be necessary for your Mum to go to hospital for a period of assessment and I would recommend this. That way, an objective look can be taken of her condition and abilities, and they can look for solutions that can work at home, if only in the short term.

I rather think this has gone outside the remit of the GP and that the wider support of the NHS is needed now, to try and stabilise your Mum. Good luck with your consultant. Don't underplay anything!

Best wishes.


Registered User
Dec 11, 2003
Tully, Qld, Australia
Dear Eden,

I think you need to take some immediate action as the situation seems to be extremely serious. It sounds as if she needs to be hositalised asap to be drip fed for a while to regain some strength.

Don't hesitate to ring for an ambulance as that's what I'd be doing right now.

Best wishes, Jude