1. Expert Q&A: Protecting a person with dementia from financial abuse - Weds 26 June, 3:30-4:30 pm

    Financial abuse can have serious consequences for a person with dementia. Find out how to protect a person with dementia from financial abuse.

    Sam, our Knowledge Officer (Legal and Welfare Rights) is our expert on this topic. She will be here to answer your questions on Wednesday 26 June between 3:30 - 4:30 pm.

    You can either post questions >here< or email them to us at talkingpoint@alzheimers.org.uk and we'll answer as many as we can on the day.

  1. Norman

    Norman Registered User

    Oct 9, 2003
    4,348
    Birmingham Hades
    #1 Norman, Nov 20, 2005
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2005
    As the disease progresses it becomes more difficult for the AD patient to manage normal plated meals,roast beef, gravy and two veg etc etc.
    We still like to go out for a meal and this can cause problems, where again people may not understand a little mess on their tablecloths
    I have looked at this one
    http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/Caring_for_someone_with_dementia/Nutrition/fft_fingerfoods.htm
    I have heard it said use finger food,but you cannot have a plated meal for
    fingers,can you ??.
    I would be very interested how other folks manage.
    Norman
     
  2. Sheila

    Sheila Registered User

    Oct 23, 2003
    2,259
    West Sussex
    Hi Norm, Mum loved a burger and chips or fish and chips or a pizza, all eaten with your fingers if you like when out, so what if you get a snidey look, just laugh it off. Sarnies and rolls were also good. A bag of chips eaten on a windy night wrapped in a blanket in her wheelchair down by the sea shore, heaven! :) Love She. XX
     
  3. jc141265

    jc141265 Registered User

    Sep 16, 2005
    836
    Australia
    Norman, I understand your concerns. I mentioned in in another post of mine a few weeks ago, that Dad got to the point where he could not eat sandwiches because he seemed to 'forget' the concept of picking the whole thing up together but instead kept picking up the bread on top and then made a mess of the rest. He also started continually using a knife upside down and eventually it got to the point that he couldn't use a knife, fork or spoon very well at all. These days although he never uses them anymore I see he still often does the hand motions of using them, but when i give him a utensil he can't aim it right at the food, the plate nor his mouth. Drinking from a cup was the last of these skills to go, I used to take so much delight in seeing him being able to use one! :D

    But I digress, in answer to your dilemma it can be addressed in some ways by planning ahead and trying to think of meals that can be acceptably eaten by using the fingers. Chips and 'nuggets' (chicken or fish battered but in small finger size bits) are good ones, for flasher meals a lot of seafood is acceptable to eat with the fingers (you may have to shell things first or ask for them to be out of their shells). Even just by avoiding gravies and sauces it can be not too bad eating things like steak and chicken 'steaks' with the fingers if you just ask for it to be cut up in small pieces before it is served, or cut it up yourself when it arrives at the table.. Think 'pieces' with veges and avoid mashing and overcooked items. Grapes are great, bananas can be okay because the person can hold the bottom with the skin still on and eat it without getting the food all over their fingers (although eventually Dad began not realising that the skin was not edible as well! :eek: )
    Also I have learnt to avoid biscuits that have toppings that melt as Dad when he could hold them would often do so for a long time and squeeze them before getting round to putting them in his mouth. Take your own desert of hard lollies, biscuits or have cakes that are less prone to falling apart like carrot and banana cakes. Spoon foods are often less challenging then knife and fork foods at first too, so desert may still be alright.

    Lastly, I think you just need to get to the point where you don't care if people are 'not understanding'. Of course you can explain to restaurant staff at first and that discreet card I have mentioned before is good for doing this without embarassing your 'dementia' sufferer, or mention it over the phone at the booking, even ask for a table that is a little less out in the open. But basically I recommend taking the attitude that if folks don't understand that is their problem, we aren't going to fix it by hiding our loved ones away, if they saw it more often they would get used to it, and if society was more used to it, life would be less difficult for people like us and other dementia sufferers, or even others with disabilities. Of course you are probably concerned about the dignity of your loved one, but try to temper this with the realisation that neither of you have anything to be ashamed of and instead you are setting an example of what society should accept and respect. If your other half is greatly distressed by others looking at her, then of course you shouldn't force her into that situation, but a lot of times I found that we were more distressed than Dad about the whole thing.

    Preparation, preparation, preparation is the key. Think about what foods can be acceptable, take cloths or wet hand wipes to stop greasy fingers leaving their mark everywhere. I guess it is similar to what a mother does when she takes her 5 year old out with the rest of the family to dinner.

    Try not to be distressed by what others think, they have no concept and our 'sufferers' should not be forced to be second class citizens because of a few poorly brought up folks. Well brought up folks know it isn't polite to stare and that one should be understanding, it is only rude folk and people incapable of understanding (like children) who will make life a bit more difficult, and this can be alleviated if one ignores them and carries on enjoying the meal with your loved one.

    One last thing, try to keep the eating skills up at home as long as possible by not immediately helping your loved one to eat their food, providing utensils even when they don't tend to use them much anymore, and if you must help then put some of the food on a fork and hand it to them to let them try first to eat it from the fork, or cut up the food into pieces that are more easily manageable. Be confident that you will 'know' when it is time to step in, when they just can't do it anymore. Try to remember the 'use it or lose it' adage. Don't make a fuss of dropped foods, don't make a fuss about messes, (one gets quite skilled at not fluttering an eyelid!) show with your attitude that your loved one has nothing to be ashamed of, they are just a person doing the best they can with what 'God' has given them to work with. Even show admiration that they can do so much considering what 'God' has taken away from them. ;) Be proud.

    Hope this helps.
     
  4. connie

    connie Registered User

    Mar 7, 2004
    9,519
    Frinton-on-Sea
    Hi Norman, recognise your problems. We are more restricted these days because of Lionel's difficulity in getting around, and sitting down etc. However, we are lucky to have a superb italian resturant nearby and they cater for Lionels every need.

    They discretly cut up his food and then push it back together again, and he can usually manage simple things with a fork. We have not got to the stage of finger foods yet, although occasionally if we are out for a pizza, I will just let him eat that with his fingers.

    I always take a clean, plain white napkin (Large), with me to use as a cover up.
    I do think it is important to keep up our skills to the end, as long as it does not cause too much distress. Love Connie
     
  5. Kathleen

    Kathleen Registered User

    Mar 12, 2005
    639
    West Sussex
    Mum is having problems with eating at the moment.

    She will always have her breakfast, but for over a week this has been the only meal she has eaten with the exeption of one bowl of soup. She is perfectly content and happy still and shows no sign of illness at all.

    As she has always been a very slim person, the staff are trying all sorts of ways to get her to eat, favourite foods, liquid meals, change of environment when eating etc but nothing seems to work.

    This is all to do with her rapid decline post-galantamine, so along with the refusal to eat she is losing her speech and understanding of what is being asked of her.

    We do worry that this will mean she will be more likely to suffer the winter coughs and colds etc as her immune system will not be as strong as it should be.

    Any ideas on how to overcome this problem gratefully received.

    Kathleen
    xx
     
  6. McK

    McK Registered User

    Sep 13, 2005
    62
    Pgh. Pa. USA
    Eating Out

    Dear Norman - As the disease progresses, I found that I had to prepare softer meals and eventually cutting all meats and fish into smaller and smaller pieces until now, everything has to be pureed. When my wife was still able to sit at the table, she would pick bits of food off the plates of anyone sitting on either side of her or just pick off the platters as we served home style. I found that "Ensure" supplement also makes a pudding that comes in three different flavors and that helped out as far as sweets go. "Hormel" also makes an instant food thickener called "Thick & Easy" (www.hormelhealthlabs.com), which can be used to thicken hot or cold beverages or foods to a honey consistency. As with my wife, the swallowing has become more difficult, and the thickener has helped. I think it's wonderful that you can still take your wife out to eat, and who cares what anyone thinks. The important thing is that you two can still share these moments together, because unfortunatly, in the future, these will be just plesant memories. Best wishs to you and your wife, McK
     
  7. Norman

    Norman Registered User

    Oct 9, 2003
    4,348
    Birmingham Hades
    #7 Norman, Nov 21, 2005
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2005
    Thank you all for your tips and advice.
    We are now in year 7 with AD and although the food is not a big problem ,yet, I t will be soon I am looking to the near future.
    I like Connie's special resturant,I will try to find one and educate the staff!!
    Nat I am not concerned what people may think,so that is not a concern to me, I am always there to educate and raise support for AD sufferers
    Thanks again
    Norman
     
  8. jc141265

    jc141265 Registered User

    Sep 16, 2005
    836
    Australia
    Norman,

    Glad to hear that the pressures from society don't hold you back, wasn't necessarily directing the post just to you, am always aware that as this is a forum many others will read the posts too so was covering all bases. A nice little place like Connie's would be great wouldn't it?
     
  9. Norman

    Norman Registered User

    Oct 9, 2003
    4,348
    Birmingham Hades
    Following on the problem of messy eating if finger food is not available.
    How could you provide chicken nuggets and chips and then a stew with dumplings for yourself?
    Has any one any tips about bibs,can't think what else to call them.
    Is there an easy way to protect clothes from food marking clothes?
    I wash dresses at least every day.
    Having to be careful how something like this is aproached,or it could end in a row and a flat refusal to co operate.
    Norman :eek:
     
  10. connie

    connie Registered User

    Mar 7, 2004
    9,519
    Frinton-on-Sea
    Yes, this is a tricky one Norman,....and how to gain their co operation is always delicate.

    Just a suggestion, maybe you could both wear chefs style aprons. If that should work you might be able to progress to PVC ones. It really does depend on the day. Hope you find some solution. Love Connie.
     
  11. Stimpfig

    Stimpfig Registered User

    Oct 15, 2005
    135
    Germany/India
    Dear Norman

    My mother won't wear a bib or an apron or something in between - I think it gets uncomfortable around the neck. I have tried an absorbent cotton scarf and just wrap it around the neck like a normal scarf with lose ends in front which she can use to wipe her mouth or if the food spills, then it spills right onto the front of the scarf. It's just a make - do solution I found but was wondering if I should stitch a sleevless jacket made of absorbent material. It's all so time-consuming, you know.

    Warm regards

    Sue Stimpfig
     
  12. Sheila

    Sheila Registered User

    Oct 23, 2003
    2,259
    West Sussex
    Big paper serviettes can be useful I found, (especially if you tuck your own under your chin first.) Another on the lap in case of spills and hopefully a bit less washing. May work, depends on how she feels day to day I expect. Sometimes Mum would accept it, sometimes not. Love She. XX
     

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