dementia and nutrition

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by Maryav, Mar 23, 2008.

  1. Maryav

    Maryav Registered User

    Mar 23, 2008
    9
    South Wales
    Hi, I'm new to all this. I've just become my mother-in-laws full time carer. Things are going fairly well except for eating. can anyone give me advice about producing meals for Betty. She's 91 and a diabetic and seems to be unable to chew anything like meat or things which take a bit of time to chew. Any suggestions.
     
  2. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,438
    Hi Maryav and welcome to Talking Point.

    What condition are her teeth in? Unfortunately, but the time dementia is diagnosed dental hygiene can have been problematic for some time, so there may be actual pain. The other possibility is that as you seem to indicate, there is a loss of interest after a certain amount of chewing. In that case you're going to have to prepare food that, while not necessarily "soft" is in small pieces: mince and the like. Essentially the sort of food that can be eaten with just a fork or spoon.

    There are a lot of people caring for diabetics so hopefully you'll get more specific suggestions.
     
  3. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    69,892
    Kent
    Hello Mary.

    I have found my husband doesn`t like very firm food any more. He is relatively young, 75, has his own teeth, but is liable to get gum infections.

    If I roast potatoes, he leaves them if they are too crispy. He only eats minced meat or slowly cooked lamb. He eats a lot of fish and vegetables.

    He will eat apples and pears if I peel them and cut them into bite sized pieces, likes bananas and oranges.

    Pasta is another good food, especially wholewheat. With a good sauce, it goes down well.

    I suppose it will be trial an error until you get used to feeding your MIL. One thing I have noticed, is my husband`s appetite is smaller and the portion he would have once enjoyed, is now overfacing.

    Diabetics should not get too hungry. My husband is unable to wait even 10 minutes for his meal. So little and often is best, say a breakfast, a mid-morning snack, a light lunch, a mid afternoon snack, a small dinner, and light supper, if necessary.

    I hope this helps.
     
  4. Tender Face

    Tender Face Account Closed

    Mar 14, 2006
    5,379
    NW England
    Hi Maryav, while my mother does not have diabetes the reluctance to 'chew' has been evident sometime. Pasta and rice dishes definitely go down easier than 'meat and two veg' ....... ..... and I have found myself leaning towards lots of vegetarian dishes .... ratatouilles, home made soups, stuffed peppers and tomatoes, cauliflower cheese (forget the al dente - without boiling/steaming away all the nutrients - mushy definitely goes down better!)

    One thought - mum goes through spells when only 'spicy' will do - don't know if it's to do with failing taste - but curries and chillis often 'hit the spot' (surpised me because she was never a curry lover previously) - so too, lots of things she remembers from her childhood ..... corned beef hash and potato pie, pickled beetroot or cucumber ..... (just on a 'butty' with soft sliced bread!!!) ... or a runny egg on soft toast ...... (not sure runny eggs are really 'safe'?:eek:)

    Only advice I can really give is not to stress too much about it ........ simple snacks can be as nutritious as something elaborate you have spent hours on only for them to refuse ....... and just when you think you've 'cracked it' - things will no doubt change again ..... try to enjoy being creative about it ... :)

    Karen, x
     
  5. x-lauren-x

    x-lauren-x Registered User

    Mar 6, 2007
    125
    Hiya
    My uncle is diabetic and me and my mum had trouble getting him to eat earlier in the year. we found that he was eating very slowly, didn't seem to have any particualr problems with his teeth- just seemed to lose his concentration a lot and would move the food about on the plate- not really eating anything. A big success with us was soup with croutons, my uncle was a cup a soup fan but we managed to develop this a little further onto fresh soups with vegetables in- and small pieces of meat. Not an everyday choice but my uncle seemed to find it a nice lunchitme choice or have a bigger portion with croutons/bread for tea - try the duchee originals- they seem to be full of succulent meat and veg but in smaller managable sizes that dont need much chewing! From my expereince they are delicious and go down really well!
    Like everyone else has said- try not to stress too much- when you do find something Betty will eat- things do start getting better!
    love
    lauren xxxxxxx
     
  6. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    69,892
    Kent
    How strange Lauren, my husband has recently wanted soup at lunchtime, and I completely forgot to mention it. What a coincidence.
     
  7. Maryav

    Maryav Registered User

    Mar 23, 2008
    9
    South Wales
    soft food

    Wow, thank you all so much. I'm almost overcome with all of your replies to my question. I didn't think anyone else would understand. I will certainly take on board everything you have said and try again. I do agree (but perhaps haven't done it before), that we should try not to get too stressed about it. My husband and I have worried if she hasn't manage at least half of a meal, and there is also the feeling that having put in the effort to prepare it, we would prefere she ate it.Thank you very much.:)
     
  8. Cate

    Cate Registered User

    Jul 2, 2006
    1,370
    Newport, Gwent
    Hi Maryav

    It all depends on your take on things. My mum is 90 in May, and has diabetes along with her advancing AD. To be perfectly honest with you considering her age, and dementia, I have asked the NH to give her what ever she wants, needless to say mum loves anything sweet, and I feel so be it.

    She has little else to look forward to, and when I caught her in tears because she couldnt have the Angel Delight everyone else was having I made that decision.

    She loves things like MarshMallows, Jelly Babies and biscuits by the ton. When she comes home with me for the day I give her roast chicken etc., but I do cut it all up for her before putting it on the table, the NH do the same thing. The only thing she struggles with these days is beef. Mum has never been a pasta lover, but things like baked or steamed fish are also a hit. Jelly and ice cream are another favourite. Its all trial and error I think.

    Happy cooking.
    Love
    Cate xx
     
  9. Margaret W

    Margaret W Registered User

    Apr 28, 2007
    3,725
    North Derbyshire
    I've just posted this on another thread, it might help you. But it was not designed with a diabetic in mind, so you might have to ignore some suggestions. I am sorry, I have no experience of diabetic diets.

    I would try tempting your mum with anything she might fancy, and do not worry about its normal health properties. I am reasonably fit, but when I am stressed my appetite disappears. I eat small meals frequently (I often can't eat a full dinner), cheese on toast, an omelette with ham and onions, soup (I love soups - vegetables will help with the bowels, lentil soup is full of protein as well) with bread dunked in and a sprinkling of cheese on top, yogurts, trifle, banana and custard, banana and ice cream, fruit juices will also help with the bowels. Things like bran are probably too heavy, try porridge with a spoon of jam, brown bread toast and honey, scrambled eggs (maybe with tomatoes and cheese), fresh fruit salad and yoghurt or cream even (don't worry now about cholesterol). Anything your mum fancies, basically, that will keep her going. Even a bar of chocolate has some protein and of course calories. Cups of milky coffee. Protein and calories. Dried fruits for Vitamin C as well as fibre, apricots, sultanas, peaches. Nibbled throughout the day. Avoid nuts, great for young people but could cause choking in the elderly.

    "Empty" calories in a glass of sherry or port. Not allowed to suggest that nowadays! But they ARE calories and if your mum enjoys a drink, why not?

    But you can also get powders to mix with foods to add calories and vitamins/minerals, I have forgotten what they are called, but you can stir a spoonful into a cup of coffee, or a tablespoon into a bowl of soup.

    I do hope this helps, I went through it very thoroughly when my dad was ill. Forget the normal dinner of meat and two veg, but I don't think you have to resort entirely to baby food. Though it is probably a lot of effort on your part. But you can buy vegetable soup in cans, never mind the extra salt they might contain, it won't do your mum any harm for a short while I would think.

    Let us know how you go on. I am sure others on this site will have much better ideas than I have.

    Love

    Margaret
     
  10. Margaret W

    Margaret W Registered User

    Apr 28, 2007
    3,725
    North Derbyshire
    Mmmm Corned Beef hash! Tomorrow's dinner I think! Do you fry it? Or do in the oven? Chuck in some cabbage too. Well healthy.

    Love

    Margaret
     
  11. citybythesea

    citybythesea Registered User

    Mar 23, 2008
    632
    coast of texas
    HI MaryAv, thank you for the post this morning. I thought I might give you a tip a friend gave me for getting her mother to eat...she was diabetic. INstead of bying a fancy machine she would use her blender (aka food processor...I am not sure where you are to call it by an appropriate name). When her mother would not eat a real meal for her and craved sweets she would add the protein powders to fresh fruit and pour them over a diabetic ice cream. If you really are adventurous you can try a smoothie she would make. Take fresh fruit, and process until smooth, she would then also process bland chicken until it was totally smooth, (she would put this in a container since she would not use it all). She would put the fruit mixture about 1 cup 2 tablespoons of chicken , 1 cup milk and some ice all together then blend real well. Her mother just thought that was so great but try to get her to eat her meats she was a spitfire. Anyways I hope you find your answer and don't stress. I know we all will at times but the calmer we are and the more rational we stay the better off our own brain will be since we will have used it correctly. Hugs always.....

    Nancy
     
  12. Tender Face

    Tender Face Account Closed

    Mar 14, 2006
    5,379
    NW England
    Another thought ....

    Diabetics or not ..... wonder how many carers use a 'slow-cooker'? .... fabulous way to cook fresh, nutritious goodies without losing vitamins etc and to produce something tasty and easily digestible in 'one pot'....... not to mention when all the ingredients have been 'thrown in' there is no slaving over a hot stove and allows carers to get on with the zillion and one other things they need to attend to ....

    Love, Karen, x :)

    Corned beef hash recipes coming by PM, Margaret ;)
     
  13. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    10,824
    london
    #13 Margarita, Mar 24, 2008
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2008
    My mother Diabetic , she really into her porridge so I put seedless raisins in the porridge to they get really soft with the heat , as I heat up the milk in a pan . as she like them , so it also help with any constipation she may have .

    That now she won't have porridge with out the raisins as it adds a natural sweet taste to the porridge.


    I am also finding that she finding it harder harder to swallow any meat

    she also really into soup now & mash potatoes , any thing soft easy to swallow , she will eat meat but it has to be cook covered in foil in the over till its really soft flaky .

    chicken also has to be cut very small , she does like a chicken pie as the meat is extra soft so she can swallow it easier .
     
  14. Maryav

    Maryav Registered User

    Mar 23, 2008
    9
    South Wales
    the results

    Hi all, this is just an update on the situation really! After all of your kind and very helpful advice I would like to report that we have success!!!:D I have given MIL home made soup with a few extras and it went down well. The best ever though was today when I liquidised the meal for her and gave her lots of gravy and a spoon. Every single last bit was eaten. I just felt my shoulders relaxing when I saw her tucking into the food, it was brilliant. I can't thank you all enough, I will certainly keep looking at the TP pages and won't be afraid to ask if there is something bothering me again.
    Thanks again
    mary
     
  15. Tender Face

    Tender Face Account Closed

    Mar 14, 2006
    5,379
    NW England
    Brilliant Mary :)- and thanks for posting back with good news!!!!! Some great tips emerged from this thread for many of us!!!! :)

    Here's to relaxed shoulders and empty plates!!!!! :)

    Love, Karen, x
     
  16. martdee

    martdee Registered User

    Apr 2, 2008
    8
    Derry
    Im really glad I found this thread.
    Mums eating has become a nightmare in recent months."I'm not hungery." "I dont want dinner."
    I was worried sick that she wasnt getting enough and thought she was doing it to challange me especially when the Daycare were telling me she was eating well with them
    Then we discovered this was not the case as food has been slipped off her plate into tissues and pockets for disposal at a later time.Now checking her handbag for "packets" has become the daily norm.
    I discussed this with both the GP and the SW but noone explained to me about the swallow problem.Discovering this information put the "anorexia" in a different light and destressed me ,cant eat was better than wont eat so I now go about the way food is presented in a different way
    I have discovered that she likes small amounts and finger type food. Fruit has to be peeled and cut into small portions, meat sliced very thin or minced, dont cream the potatoes, dont put gravy near the veg.She has never been one for dairy products so cheese and milky based drinks are a non starter and porridge which she used to eat daily is no longer something she will even consider.Pasta! Rice! "I dont eat that!" and this from a lady who in her prime was a great cook who loved her food.
    She will eat casseroles and stews as long as I take the meat out and blend it before serving..if she sees meat the whole meal gets left and yes recently she has shown a preference to using a spoon rather than a fork. Home made soup is her favourite and my blender a life saver its amazing just how much nutrition you can hid in a bowl of soup.
    Marie
     
  17. Maryav

    Maryav Registered User

    Mar 23, 2008
    9
    South Wales
    food, food, food

    Hi martdee
    I was pleased to see that the answers to my problem had been of use to you. Like you I just didn't realise that swallowing becomes a problem or that 'they' loose concentration while chewing etc. I learned a lot and up until now, things are still going well for both of us. I am much more relaxed at meal times - well all day really - because I am not worrying about how I'm going to get some goodness into MIL.

    Mary:D
     

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