Eating out of date food

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Liz57, Jan 22, 2015.

  1. Liz57

    Liz57 Registered User

    Dec 22, 2013
    184
    Over the last couple of months, my mum's ability to prepare her own food has left her - not that she knows this and will regularly tell people she cooks every night! Like many people, I trawl through her fridge and remove the out of date items but I'm not sure if I missed something or she retrieved something from a bin as I've found an empty meat pie carton in her bin that was two weeks out of date!:eek:

    Now of course she can't remember if she ate it. She can't remember what she had for lunch but she didn't want her dinner tonight. If she did eat it, it could have been raw or undercooked as she gets totally confused with time and doesn't understand how her cooker works any more. I once found a missing meat pie in the microwave, a week after it went missing, but I can't find this one so the evidence points to it having been consumed.

    She seems OK at the moment but should I take her to the doctor before she gets sick do you think?
     
  2. Lindy50

    Lindy50 Registered User

    Dec 11, 2013
    5,239
    Cotswolds
    Oh Liz, how I sympathise! Sounds pretty much just like my mum :( I live in terror that she'll poison herself on an out of date prawn sandwich!!

    Not sure whether you live close to your mum? If you do, I'd just keep an eye on her to see how she is. Otherwise, I'm really not sure. Sorry :eek:

    Lindy x
     
  3. Solihull

    Solihull Registered User

    Oct 2, 2014
    97
    West Midlands
    Hi Liz57, this is a difficult one. My mom was doing this for a few years but I had to be sure that whatever I put in the fridge had a really long shelf life, at least till I would see her again, then I would throw away anything with only a couple of days left. I bought microwaveable meals which mostly were already cooked just needed heating up.I too found stuff in the microwave (a bit mouldy at times) but as long as there was not an infestation of flies- just threw it away - the dish as well! Eventually she forgot to eat, lost so much weight & was dehydrated so she is now in a care home and doing very well. I sometime wonder how she got to 91! Just take things day by day and if it becomes an issue you will need someone to monitor her meals etc daily.
    It's not easy is it?
    Take care.
    Sue
     
  4. cragmaid

    cragmaid Registered User

    Oct 18, 2010
    7,942
    North East England
    Wrap up and bag up all food products that you put in the bin so that they are not recognisible as food....it helped a bit here.;)
     
  5. Chook

    Chook Registered User

    Jun 14, 2013
    238
    Westcountry
    You have my sympathies, I used to phone my mum daily at meal times and get her to cook a ready meal whilst I was on the phone. That way I would know it was cooked properly. I would also ask her what the best before date was. My friend to pop in and remove all the out of date food once a week.

    Could you put the out of date food straight in the wheelie bin? I know my mum would flush stuff down the loo so I wasn't sure if she'd eaten it or not.

    I hope she's not sick but personally I wouldn't do anything unless she's ill. I'm not sure they could do anything anyway. It does sound like she's at risk though. How would she accept carers coming in? I'm so sorry you're going through this, it's awful x
     
  6. Insomniac

    Insomniac Registered User

    Apr 29, 2014
    39
    That's exactly what my mum did! Turned into a VERY messy night with a call to NHS 24 and an ambulance crew to check her over!!! She was fine in a day or so.

    She eventually was unable to do her own shopping so I could buy less risky items. She's now in a CH so I don't have that worry anymore thank goodness. Not a lot you can do except habitual clearing and careful buying I'm afraid. Best of luck.


    Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point
     
  7. Tin

    Tin Registered User

    May 18, 2014
    4,815
    UK
    I'm sure before mum moved in with me she had her fair share of uncooked/out of date food, also because her little dog became her priority it got its fair share of this food if not most of it, any pets in the house?
     
  8. Lindy50

    Lindy50 Registered User

    Dec 11, 2013
    5,239
    Cotswolds
    Oh my gosh insomniac :eek: Glad your mum recovered quickly.

    The thing is, I do all the shopping already, but mum's appetite is very poor so I try to tempt it with some of the few things she still likes.....one of which is prawn sandwiches! Generally we eat them together and I throw away any waste, but just occasionally there's some left that she says she'll 'eat later'.....it's always still there when I go next day :(

    Mum drinks very little too so I also worry about her getting dehydrated.......:eek:

    Glad you have been able to arrange a CH for your mum. Don't think my mum is far off this, tbh......

    Lindy xx
     
  9. Liz57

    Liz57 Registered User

    Dec 22, 2013
    184
    Thanks all. So far so good but I'm keeping an eye open. I'm not good with bodily fluids!

    I must remember to put things in the outside wheelie bin and not just in the kitchen bin as the more I think about it, the more I think it may have been "retrieved".

    Funnily enough before I found the "evidence", I heard a noise in her kitchen which sounded like she might have mice. Can't describe it any other way other than a sort of nibbling noise. I banged around a bit and the cleaner was in yesterday so I don't think this is an infestation but it gets worse doesn't it?

    Lindy, mum's current favourite is trifle. Despite a poor appetite, she can eat an entire trifle in one sitting. Just a thought!
     
  10. Lindy50

    Lindy50 Registered User

    Dec 11, 2013
    5,239
    Cotswolds
    Think I'll give trifle another go ....mum has suddenly stopped eating the delicious little portions of rice pudding that I get.....so a good idea, thanks Liz :)

    And I really hope your mum doesn't have mice.....I don't know about you, but sometimes I feel I give more attention to mum's place than I do to my own! :rolleyes:

    All the best

    Lindy xx
     
  11. Liz57

    Liz57 Registered User

    Dec 22, 2013
    184
    My mums house is spotless. Mine ....... best draw a veil over that one I think.
     
  12. FozzyC

    FozzyC Registered User

    Aug 3, 2014
    53
    Staffordshire
    I have turned into The Fridge Police! I am afraid I am having to be very sneaky! My fear is not just Dad (who has mixed dementia) but also mom who is incredibly frail, eats poorly, dehydrated - for whom dad has been preparing meals. :(

    They both had campylobacter, as did my son and his girlfriend, as a result of eating chicken liver pâté at a pub restaurant just over two years ago, I don't ever want a repeat of that month thank you! I can tell you that this particular bug responds to antibiotics if started early, so if you ever suspect food poisoning relating to chicken or turkey then flag up to the GP ASAP, my son recovered quite quickly because he was the last to develop symptoms so I had a pretty good idea what caused it and got him to the GP within a couple of hours of symptoms starting. Dad lost a stone in weight, mom and dad were incontinent for weeks. Campylobacter causes raging diarrhoea, it can also develop up to a week after you've eaten an infected item so often people don't realise what the actual cause was, thinking it must be something they ate in last day or so. Sorry if I sound alarmist here, let's just say I treat chicken now as a highly risky thing, by the way, I'm a vegetarian of over twenty years standing, if I hadn't been already I think that incident would have turned me off meat anyway!

    Dad is very aware that I throw food away, he is onto me like a hawk if I go near the fridge, we have sometimes taken advantage of a paramedic attending to one of moms many falls to send someone into the kitchen for a clear out while his attention is elsewhere. Back in September this unearthed the presence of over fifty eggs, his weekly sausage purchases from the butchers which are unlabelled were five in total so that means some was five weeks old, some four etc and no way of knowing which? I've since had a chat with the butcher and asked he marks dad's purchases with the date of sale with black marker so we can keep a check.

    Dad was incensed I'd thrown away some runner beans he had prepared. They were brown and slimy so I put them in the wheely bin along with some frozen beef kidney that was iced up and almost a year old. I was horrified to find them in the freezer a few days later, retrieved from the wheely bin! I now throw it all in a plastic bag and drop it over their gate and then retrieve it as I go to my car and take it home to my own bin.

    Social services have put in place a tea time call starting this week as mom is eating so poorly, mom and dad pay for lunchtime carer and she will do a sandwich. Carers have been alerted to the fridge situation and I've given the evening carer my mobile and told her to text me so I can replace anything she throws out. If I spot something about to go out of date, and I am talking use by dates, not best before here, then I try to buy said item and then swap them with the replacement so dad doesn't notice the item expiring on say 23 January now says 6 February! I'm off to get replacement yoghurts today as a pack of eight are about to expire.

    I'm trying to reduce the high risk foods best I can, such as raw chicken, as dad wouldn't handle it properly and would probably thaw it in a nice warm spot or store it unwrapped in the fridge. I will say 'oh the chicken was on buy one get one half price, so I bought two and cooked them both, here's a cooked chicken for you'. I do then have to watch it's eaten in a couple of days and not left out in the kitchen. Canned stuff is obviously pretty good as you can safely eat it cold from the can, though you do have to watch for half eaten cans mouldering in the fridge!

    I take dad shopping so have some control, but his local shop and butcher will deliver an order to him if he phones, so I can't completely monitor what food is in the house. I have also been dealing with the build up of stuff from when dad could drive prior to November. I've been cooking meals like stew and freezing in portions, when I take some over I remove some ancient icy package in the freezer and that way he doesn't notice the freezer emptying.

    So this is just another reason why I'm awake reading and posting at silly o clock in the morning!
     
  13. Spamar

    Spamar Registered User

    Oct 5, 2013
    6,992
    Suffolk
    Many years ago I nearly died after campylobacter poisoning. Another friend had it about the same time ( we never did work out where we'd been at the same time), he ended up in hospital as he was in a hotel by the time it struck. It's very nasty!
     
  14. susy

    susy Registered User

    Jul 29, 2013
    801
    North East
    My mum who doesn't have dementia hoards and eats out of date food. I'm often removing things out of her fridge and binning it. I'm guessing this is a generation thing. One where people were brought up where waste was unheard of.
     
  15. joggyb

    joggyb Registered User

    Dec 1, 2014
    119
    I'd suggest that it's not necessarily a big problem if she's eating out-of-date food (depending on the type of food, obviously), but missing meals and not drinking enough certainly could be bad news for her.

    One of the signs for me and my family that we had to act where my Dad was concerned was that it became obvious that he could no longer make himself a cup of tea properly (cold water + milk!) and didn't seem to know whether he'd eaten or not. Plus, as others have experienced, his fridge veered from being empty (or near empty, and only having out-of-date food in it) to being full of food he wouldn't really have eaten before he had Alzheimer's. He also came here in mid August, and didn't stop eating all day, as though he hadn't eaten for weeks.

    He went into a care home in September, and his physical health and energy have improved immeasurably, and he seems happier in himself. The home gives the residents 3 square meals a day, plus drinks + snacks mid morning, mid afternoon, and before bed (and any other time they ask, or seem in need). They also get soup for supper. Because I told them my Dad had never been great at drinking enough, even when well, they always give him a big mug for his drinks, too, which also helps ensure his hydration.

    I'm no medic, but if your mum isn't eating or drinking properly or regularly, her overall health will be at risk. If you yourself aren't in a position to monitor her throughout the day, then it might well be time to consider care options for her.
     
  16. jugglingmum

    jugglingmum Registered User

    Jan 5, 2014
    5,323
    Female
    Chester
    my mum is in sheltered extra care, and so I buy all her food but she insists on wrapping up ham daily from her salad lunch in restaurant and putting in fridge.

    I bin this weekly when I go and some of it is so bad it makes me retch. I always remove it as I know she would retrieve it from the bin.

    I have to do this 'snealiky' as I put shopping away as she objects and is quite happy to eat it out of date swearing she won't get ill say. I know she had repeated upset stomach when she was at home before she moved to where she is now and had lost a lot of weight (partly not eating but partly bugs)

    My worry is she will start hiding it where I can't find it if she becomes too aware I am binning it. I have found open tins of mouldy tuna stored in cupboard as she doesn't understand it need to be in the fridge.(I don't buy tinned food now ) I have decided I need to visit twice a week to bin it. This is the limit of what I can do in terms of visits with work and family commitments and so a care home will be the next thing sadly.
     
  17. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    4,289
    SW London
    Before we realised it was down to dementia, since he had always been very stubborn, FIL would make soup, and then insist on storing it in a covered saucepan outside on the kitchen doorstep. This was in summer, and he had bouts of runs from eating it after it had been out there any length of time. At the same time he was putting tins of soup in the freezer. Again we put it down to stubbornness since he would still do it after strong advice not to.
    It was only after the dementia-penny dropped that it all made 'sense'.
     
  18. jugglingmum

    jugglingmum Registered User

    Jan 5, 2014
    5,323
    Female
    Chester
    My mum was always stubborn so this so resonates
     
  19. Solihull

    Solihull Registered User

    Oct 2, 2014
    97
    West Midlands
    Although my mom survived many horrors of out of date food, week old chicken was a favourite and because she had very little sense of smell and her taste buds were going she did not realise when things were "going off" this was not what put her in hospital. Joggyb is right, dehydration and malnutrition are big worries and my mom was only 5 stone even though she insisted she was eating well. Even more of a problem is dehydration and she "forgot" to drink. I was finding lots of half drunk cups of tea & coffee all over the house and eventually she ended up in hospital. Now she is in a care home she has gained nearly two stone since August and I have peace of mind even though it is very hard but I know there was no alternative.
    Sue
     
  20. Lindy50

    Lindy50 Registered User

    Dec 11, 2013
    5,239
    Cotswolds
    I have been running around trying to manage this situation for.....years maybe. Yesterday I went to see mum's GP (she wouldn't come) to let him know the situation, especially as she is getting apparently constipated / having faecal leakage and accidents. When I told him how resistant she is to help, he stunned me by saying he'd make a referral for possible residential care. Honestly it wasn't until he said that that, that I suddenly saw my mum as she is.....a very vulnerable, very elderly lady who is in fact on the verge of malnutrition and dehydration. As the GP said, what would happen if I or my OH couldn't see her for a week? He thought she'd likely end up in hospital in that short period of time :eek:

    So....today I've got on to the care agency, added more visits and am going to make a further determined effort to try to help mum stay in her own home. If this doesn't work out, well, the GP has now made the alternative quite clear!

    Actually now I feel sick myself, and not because I've eaten out of date food.....:(

    Lindy xx
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.