Food ideas please ....

Discussion in 'I have a partner with dementia' started by Brian_P6, Oct 9, 2019.

  1. Brian_P6

    Brian_P6 Registered User

    Dec 1, 2015
    5
    Male
    Hi All,

    My wife has young onset Alzheimer's diagnosed age 60, she's now 66. I know this has been discussed elsewhere, but food is getting to be a nightmare for me. Everything I cook (and I'm a pretty good cook) tastes horrible yet of course she's no problem clearing a plate of cheesecake.

    Now I know that in many parts of the forums a lot of people say - don't worry at that age as long as they're eating something! But at her age she still needs to get nutrients as well as the calories.

    She spends most of her day trying to feed our 3 cats, even though I'm sure they're saying to themselves "leave me alone hooman, I is trying to sleep!" Yet I sometimes wonder if the cat is eating more than she is (apart from the cheesecake!!).

    She is vegetarian, so no meat or fish which actually leaves for a generally bland tasting diet which tastes 'horrible'.

    At her greatest weight ever, several months (maybe a year) ago she was 7st 10lbs when she would eat anything I gave her as long as it was covered in either spices, mustard, vinegar and/or worcester sauce. She's now 7st 5lb and really, she hasn't got much there to lose. I've just started to plot her weight to keep track of it.

    But of course weight isn't everything, I might get enough calories into her but that's only part of it isn't it.

    She wont eat .........
    Potatoes, chips, sweet potatoes, pasta, rice, pizza, vegetables, bread (unless it's a soft brioche bun), curry, soup, fruit pies, fruit cake

    I get some success with......
    soya milk/berry smoothies
    cauliflower cheese pies
    hash browns (but only one)
    halloumi (but seldom)
    salad (but often picks the lettuce out of her mouth as though she can't chew it)
    eggs (but hit and miss)
    Madeira cake

    She mostly drinks soya milk. Tea / coffee / hot chocolate and squash are all horrible. Yes I've tried sweetening them up.

    Whatever I do cook, she never eats half of a very small portion and 2 hours later asks what's for dinner.

    I'm spending all my time and effort feeding the bin !!!

    Your wisdom please......

    Ta,
    Brian.
     
  2. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    10,716
    Female
    South coast
    People with dementia lose their sense of smell and taste and the last remaining tastes are sweet and very savoury. They often dont like food that is the "wrong" texture - either chewy or bitty often comes into this category.

    From the sound of it you are going to have to go with little and often. Quite often people with dementia get on better with a lot of snacks and if she is losing weight its better to get calories in than worrying abut a "normal" diet of breakfast, dinner and tea and having "balanced" meals. Think about what she is actually eating rather than what she is "supposed" to eat. Cheesecake, for example is eggs, cheese, flour and fruit, all of which are good for you. Would she eat bread and butter pudding - perhaps a savoury one made with cheese? Take things that she will eat and load it up with calories.
    I know someone whose husband would only eat pancakes with maple syrup, so she worked out a recipe to make these pancakes the healthiest that she could. You could also make something, let her eat a small quantity and then when she asked what is for dinner, give her some more. Or what about making a meal and then dividing it up up into small portions for the freezer, so that you have a variety. Then when asks for something, take a portion out of the freezer and zap it in the microwave.
     
  3. PJD

    PJD Registered User

    Apr 4, 2019
    10
    I have the same problem. She has toast & marmalade for breakfast one slice, toast sandwich with cooked meat for lunch, lots of Belvita biscuits during the day some cake if I have it but dinner goes in the food bin. I fill 3 bags a week. Coffee goes cold I found some Nourishment drinks which she liked for a while now horrible similarly complan now horrible. She is v thin for the first time in years her wedding ring slips off. She has always just eaten. I don`t worry anymore only concerned about difficulty getting her to change cothes, get washed do hair generaly she`s not clean and it is fights to get her clean.
     
  4. nitram

    nitram Registered User

    Apr 6, 2011
    19,154
    Male
    North Manchester
    Agree with above.
    Also try larger plates with smaller amounts, less likely to overface her
     
  5. Dimpsy

    Dimpsy Registered User

    Sep 2, 2019
    412
    Female
    Sometimes, if someone is pressing you to do something it can have the opposite effect.

    We keep a see-through jar in mum's room and put four or five different varieties of biscuits in each night.
    In the morning the jar is empty.

    Do you think if you put something tempting near her, without you saying anything, left to her own devices she may eat?

    I agree with @canary that snacks could be the way to go. Maybe start with half a brioche bun if she has a liking for those (could you put some smooth peanut butter inside), and a few grapes or a strawberry?
    If she is asking "what's for dinner" frequently, it seems that she could be answering your question herself, little but often might suit her rather than a full blown meal.
    (My mum is vegetarian too, there are plenty of tasty veggie alternatives to buy if you're not in the mood to cook from scratch).
     
  6. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    10,716
    Female
    South coast
    I agree with that. I used to get a bowl and put things like cubes of cheese, grapes, hula hoops, cocktail sausages etc in it. I would put it down next to her while we watched TV and she would say "Oh I couldnt possibly eat all that!", but after half an hour it was gone.
     
  7. grpop

    grpop Registered User

    Nov 17, 2016
    4
    I had to laugh as I have so many of these issues. I think the small meais idea excellent and I will stop trying to provide joint meals
     
  8. shaktibhakti

    shaktibhakti Registered User

    Sep 5, 2016
    13
    brighton
    My mother is 6stone now and eats like a sparrow...Gets very annoyed wheni try to coax her to eat more.....very stubborn,always so that hasnt changed with this disease as yet. The only food she loves, still are jellied EEls and i can only get a pot when im in london. she always eats every last piece. Then problem is shes full. and wont have not even slice of bread with them! 4yrs ago after she starved herself for months add drank very little. eventually she was hospitalised as had a fall where she knocked her front tooth loose & got confused and i kept saying to her GPs shes not eating....of course she thought she was having 3 meals daily....in her head.....That was the start of all of this.........we managed to get a dignosis and the only question mum didnt know and couldnt answer when the doctor in hospital asked her was whos on the throne? weird........I say re food -little and often, snacks, i make her homemade hummus with slice of soughdough bread - a good snack full of protein, fat....when i cooked for her fort a year after my father passed all her liver and kidney tests went up-health improved-the only time she started to do better...Diet -the right one re condition is always 50% of health and healing! that im sure of as i have lyme disease and after 2 half months when i studied at kushi institute becket usa ALL lyme symptoms went and i hadnt felt that well for 10yrs previous...[only had lye for 2yr when i studied macrobioitc diet]
     
  9. Dootee

    Dootee Registered User

    Mar 8, 2016
    27
    First of all Brian what a tremendous caring husband you are. Its quite clear you are that so well done you. My mother 78 has alzheimers 8 years now still lives at home with dad 84. 25 hours of care a week and this is where we currently are also at. Shes stopped eating too but not been a big eater either. Again will eat cake cake and more cake. Its frustrating. She will eat eggs tho thank god. Boiled and chopped up warmed in the mic with ham. She will also almost always eat a fish from the chip shop too. Ive never seen her deny that. So try that. She wont eat chips tho.

    I wonder if you should try some meat? I know that's contrary but she may have forgotten thats shes a veggie? My mum occasionally eats sausage n mash chopped up.

    My mother will also only drink Pepsi. Absolutely nothing else
    Although i buy her decaf pepsi as the caffeine sends her hyper. She also drinks tea again ive switched her to all decaf.
    So maybe try a fizzy lemonade or the like.... even the flavoured waters these days are nice. Morrisons sell a lemon and lime one its lovely.

    Last tip; ask your doctor for Ensures. Its a calorie burden drink which boosts weight increase and has some nutrients its a bit like an actimel drink i suppose but its for health boost. Worth a try. Good luck keep us updated.
     
  10. White Rose

    White Rose Registered User

    Nov 4, 2018
    93
    How strange this all sounds to me - my partner with Alzheimer's is obsessed with food, one of his repetitions is always about where is his food coming from, even though he has never ever been without food and snacks! Brian_P6 I wish you would come and cook for me, I get so fed up with constantly having to make sure my partner is fed! I wonder if your wife would eat porridge with honey, you could add blueberries to it as well. I found gnocci with pesto sauce makes a change from potatoes, also couscous with feta cheese and vegetables goes down well. He has become a bit picky, no pizza or pasta, although will eat macaroni cheese, nothing spicy, everything needs to be cut up or mashed, easy to eat. Good luck.
     
  11. Andrew_McP

    Andrew_McP Registered User

    Mar 2, 2016
    213
    Male
    South Northwest
    I'll just throw in a current food success in this household. My mother has been increasingly fussy and continually losing weight, but recently she's been scoffing Angel Delight made with full fat milk (I'm going to try evaporated milk as well) fortified with supplements. Current favourite is banana Angel Delight with banana Complan or Tesco banana diet shake powder. Can't find butterscotch flavoured diet/supplement shakes though, which is a shame, because everyone knows butterscotch Angel Delight is the best.

    M&S chocolate eclairs are being eaten pretty reliably too (often by me, meaning I have to go back and buy some more). I've thought about trying to poke peas into them to try and get her eating a bit more veg, but... maybe not, eh?
     
  12. White Rose

    White Rose Registered User

    Nov 4, 2018
    93
    Angel Delight, I used to love that when I was a girl, going to pick some up from the supermarket, chocolate flavour though and maybe dip chocolate eclairs into it.... chocolate is an excellent diversion from this caring business.....!
     
  13. Roseleigh

    Roseleigh Registered User

    Dec 26, 2016
    255
    everyone knows butterscotch Angel Delight is the best.

    For a while they did toffee - even better!
     
  14. Peter107

    Peter107 Registered User

    Sep 22, 2017
    2
    Hi Brian, we are in a very similar situation my wife was diagnosed at 62 and is now 68 so I really understand your situation. My wife is not a vegetarian but we are having similar eating problems, I now give her Complan milkshakes which at least have some vitamins and nutrients. Other than that she only eats cakes and scrambled eggs. I don’t have any answers but I do feel for you both.
     
  15. Boudica

    Boudica Registered User

    Jun 9, 2014
    3
     
  16. Boudica

    Boudica Registered User

    Jun 9, 2014
    3
    My mum was exactly the same. She would eat toast and marmalade in the mornng but after that she would prowl around the house looking for sweets and biscuits. She was 96 and my 98-year old Dad had always done the cooking, but those last two years were awful. This loss of appetite is, apparently, quite normal with dementia sufferers as they lose sense of tatse and smell also, so nothing appeals. My advice is to make very simple dishes and serve a really small portion; if necessary resort to tinned soups, things like steamed fish or scrambled eggs. Actually eating can also become difficult, so we found soft foods were more successful.
    I'm sorry to be negative, but don't expect this situation to improve. Don't lose your temper with her, and don't try to force her to eat. This is the way your lives are now, you just have to go with it.
     
  17. Grahamstown

    Grahamstown Registered User

    Jan 12, 2018
    1,441
    East of England
    I have had a bit of a breakthrough with food intake when he had a coughing fit over cereal for the first time, together with difficulty swallowing and refusing to eat with a lot of weight loss. It seems silly to have taken so long to twig but I tried to keep normal for as long as I could. However I had to buy a new blender to try out my idea. Now he has exactly the same as me made into soups of varying textures. Today he had braised beef with carrots onions, a few breadcrumbs and kale whizzed up with stock and seasoned with salt and pepper. I served it in a favourite mug and he said it was delicious and drank it all. It was a 10oz mug for a rough idea of the quantity so it’s still not a normal portion for a man. He had blueberries yoghurt and ground seeds mixture for dessert. He has gone back to bed happy. This may change again but at the moment he is having nutritious food.
     
  18. Grahamstown

    Grahamstown Registered User

    Jan 12, 2018
    1,441
    East of England
    His default position is that he can’t eat that and to hand it back, but I say it’s really nice, try it. Then he proceeds to eat it all.
     
  19. White Rose

    White Rose Registered User

    Nov 4, 2018
    93
    I'll give butterscotch a try too but normally it has to be chocolate, ice cream too, has to be chocolate. My partner would eat ice cream all day long, but always vanilla or magnum - I'm going to try him with Angel Delight, might be less calories than the icecream!
     
  20. Andrew_McP

    Andrew_McP Registered User

    Mar 2, 2016
    213
    Male
    South Northwest
    This evening my culinary skills were stretched because I had no vanilla shakes to boost the butterscotch with. So: 1 x butterscotch angel delight + 1 x chocolate 'diet' shake mix + 1 x can carnation milk. It thickened up really quickly (I'm guessing the fat content of the carnation milk) and tastes better than it has any right to.

    Mum loves it, which is just as well, because I'd sit and eat the whole thing in one sitting if she didn't. I think the next step will be trying to hide a mashed banana in the mix as well.
     

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