1. whoknows

    whoknows Registered User

    Jul 31, 2012
    Hi everyone

    My Father, who has severe dementia is now not eating for 2-3 days and then eating 2-3 days. The best I can put it is that is appears to have forgotten how to eat, and then remembers.

    Is this something that is typical of the downward spiral of this disease, or could there be something more fundamental going on, that would need some medical intervention? He's a funny kind of guy and he's shown cycles of this in the past, so eating one day, then not, just because, but now the lengths of stopped eating are getting longer....he looks fine and is not losing weight, at this point.
  2. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    My wife will eat but only if I put the knife and fork in her hands otherwise she just sits looking at it. Spoon food seems to work well, stew with the pieces cut quite small so they don't need cutting up on a plate, soup and finger foods like sausage rolls or fruit cut into mouth sized pieces work well too. I think I'd try presenting the food differently and see if that works rather than knife, fork and plate go spoon and bowl or fingers.
  3. Mrsbusy

    Mrsbusy Registered User

    Aug 15, 2015
    I think this is quite a common problem, sporadic eating, then not, then back to it. I think sometimes the body doesn't send I'm hungry messages to the brain so they don't feel like eating. Either that they think they've eaten when they haven't.

    Meals now are few and far between with my mum, even just an ice cream fills her up. Drinking is more vital than eating, but I know how worrying it is. Can you not leave some sweets or cakes for him to nibble at if he fancies them, by where he sits to watch TV?

    Don't worry unduly it's more common than you'd think, but keep an eye on him, and make sure he drinks lots.
  4. whoknows

    whoknows Registered User

    Jul 31, 2012
    Thanks MrsBusy, that's reassuring.

    He has his favourite things offered and around him, but he doesn't seem to reach out and take, as he once would. It's a bit horrible not seeing him eat, but there's been an awful lot of horrible things I have witnessed in this illness.
  5. Chuggalug

    Chuggalug Registered User

    Mar 24, 2014
    My husband would graze all the time he was awake. Bread and jam; crisps; biscuits; that sort of junk. But if I made a meal, he would either eat some andsave the rest for breakfast; which I then knew would be chucked out. So I had to be a bit inventive with him to make sure he actually ate some proper food.

    It's completely different now he's in care as they have strict meal times, and three meals a day. Apparently, he eats everything, and no junk.
  6. whoknows

    whoknows Registered User

    Jul 31, 2012
    So now we've had a couple of weeks of on/off eating, there's a wee bit of weight loss, but nothing entirely noticeable, so am going to call the GP tomorrow and see what's best plan of action.

    Have seen on here there are various theories around not eating:

    1. Depression
    2. Mouth ulcer
    3. Dentures problem
    4. Digestion issue
    5. Last point of control

    All make sense, one thing I have wondered as being a cause, was brain confusion, however I didn't notice this being mentioned on here. As the brain shuts down and the nerve connections don't work, or work sporadically, the signals to the mouth & tongue no longer work and so that results in eating less and randomly.

    Would be interested to hear what other people think.
  7. Amy in the US

    Amy in the US Registered User

    Feb 28, 2015
    I think it's a good idea to check with the GP. If you are not seeing weight loss, then calories in and calories out must be balanced somehow, although I imagine you're concerned about nutrition.

    My only other thoughts were loss of appetite (possibly from the body/brain not properly sending or receiving hunger signals) and if he's on any medications, if they could somehow be involved.

    I hope you'll keep us updated when it's convenient for you.
  8. whoknows

    whoknows Registered User

    Jul 31, 2012
    So just back from the GP and he said that with his condition and some other ailments, the prognosis is not good and I had to choose treatment route today, so hospital with Tubes and whatevers or a "palliative" course at Home.

    So I chose the Home option and we'll see. Part of me says its an extension of the process of stop/start eating, and he'll continue in this vein, another part says its time to prepare for the worst, so who knows.

    Rang my Sister to update her and really wound me up (again) as the person who does everything in the same position as the Invisible, as regards Inheritance, so what is the point ?

    I know its your conscience and sleep at night, but the stress I have faced/will face and having his wellbeing, ups and downs at the forefront of my mind daily & basically put my life on hold, is chalk and cheese to her out of sight, out of mind monthly visits. Something really needs to be done about it in the Law, so that real carers somehow are rewarded monetarily significantly more than the Invisibles.
  9. whoknows

    whoknows Registered User

    Jul 31, 2012
    so he is in hospital and on fluids to see if that will perk him up, the Doctors are saying they'll treat reversible conditions, but they won't put in stomach pump or resus, which I generally understand the logic. It's hard when it is your Father.

    One thing that did amaze me yesterday, I rang a few people and told them how my Dad was and his cousin came to visit, whom they grew up together some 50-80 years ago. They regularly meet, but there is not too much reaction on my Father side.

    Anyways, on this occasion, there was an extended look of joy on my Father's face when his cousin sat opposite him. It was uncontrolled happiness, I've seen him smile and laugh occasionally, in the last several years, but this was around 10 minutes of pure joy, much as you might expect a child seeing their Christmas presents. (It only stopped as the ambulance arrived to take him to hospital). I've never ever seen such a manifestation in my Father, so there is conscience somewhere in there combined with possibly knowing that things are not well in himself and he might be going to another place.
  10. whoknows

    whoknows Registered User

    Jul 31, 2012
    Just to let everyone know, the dementia co-ordinator in the hospital said that the dementia patient can have lucid moments, at anytime, for any length of time and they will have the occasional cognitive spell, which can last moments or longer.

    Since this very happy moment, there has been one more moment of small smiles and similar, but nothing along the lines of the uncontainable joy that I witnessed, but he seems to be in a good place.

    He's due to be released from hospital imminently, he is fine on his observations, but is on and off food and we have to see how it goes at home, if he eats, great, if not, the outlook is bleak. He's very strong so he is likely to be able to keep going quite sometime.

    My cousin in Canada who's parents had dementia, as well as her in-laws, so she's looked after 4 people with dementia, said, whilst the stomach tube is good, the pneumonia comes and that's not very nice at all, so she probably won't go stomach tube with the last remaining member of the 4.
  11. BR_ANA

    BR_ANA Registered User

    Jun 27, 2012
    My mother was not eating for some months. She had her teeth removed due to toothache. And then she began to eat anything she is offered.

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