Grandmother who can't eat

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by traceymcn, Aug 4, 2005.

  1. traceymcn

    traceymcn Registered User

    Aug 4, 2005
    2
    Scotland
    Hi there

    I am new to this site so will introduce myself first. My name is Tracey and my Gran has Alzheimers Disease, which she has had for the past 5 years or so. Recently she has been in a nursing home as she requires 24 hrs a day care. Over the past 10 days she has quickly been unable to eat, shaking and choking if food is given to her. Up until then she was a great eater and becuase she always forgot she had meals, she would always say yes to anyone if they offered her more food. In 5 days she had lost 5lbs. Now she has been admitted to hospital because she is unable to eat or drink, is double incontinet. I feel really worried now and helpless, I want to help her but don't know how to. She looks really frail and old and has a sweet, sickly kind of smell coming from her breath. The doctor has said basically they can't do anything for her, there is no sign of infection (previously thought she had a bowel infection) and she keeps pulling out her drip so they can't get any fluids into her. Don't know if we should be pushing them to do further investigations (endoscopy etc) or leave her be and not put her though any more pain and discomfort. Can anyone advise what to expect, or how to help. Because of bed shortgages etc, doctors want to send her back to the nursing home, surely this means its just a matter of time. My Gran is at the stage where she gets confused with us, misktaking us for other people, can't remember who we are and believing her husband and sister are still alive. I'd really appreciate someones advice.
    Thanks
    Tracey
     
  2. Sheila

    Sheila Registered User

    Oct 23, 2003
    2,259
    West Sussex
    Oh Tracy my love, what a dilemma. You say you have spoken to the doctor in charge, perhaps you could speak to them again and put these questions to them as you have here? I am not trying to pass the buck, but the medical team are really the only ones who can answer your questions. If she is considered OK physically, then yes, it is likely the disease is causing the problems, but they are the only ones who can check it out. I know what you mean about where you should stop, whether you are just making things more uncomfortable for her etc. My own Mum said to me long before she became ill, (in fact I think I was still in my twenties) "If I get like that, I don't want to live, shoot me". Of course, when things did turn out "like that" I felt just like you. I discussed things with the medical team. Eventually they laid it on the line, told me she was in "End Stage". So, I did my best to ensure my Mum was loved and cared for properly until the end came. You have to go on the information you can get, but make sure you get all you can. If there is any doubt, get things checked. If not, and it is the disease, be there for her and keep telling her how much you love her. Wish I had a magic wand, thinking of you, love and hugs, She. XX
     
  3. sequoia

    sequoia Registered User

    Jul 3, 2005
    19
    London
    Grandmother not eating

    My mum didn't reach the final stages of dementia but died from other things (although some related -pnuemonia). She did have vascular dementia. Shortly before she died she lost interest in food and began to see her mother's face in mine. She had already lost a lot of weight but this accelerated. I gave her Complan (but she was able to drink). The doctors wanted to feed her intraveneously; not knowing much, I wonder if this could be an option for your grandmother? However, I'd just second what has already been said: continue to give your grandma your love and support as perhaps there's probably not much else you can do. It must all be very difficult and distressing for you. I asked the doctors not to give my mum invasive investigations that would cause her distress, particularly as they thought it possible she was dying but I did ask they help to have the best chance to live. in other ways. Perhaps you could insist that your granmother is not discharged from hospital and sent back to the nursing home in her current state but that should be cared for in the hospital, as it does sound as if your grandmother does need some medical care.
     
  4. sequoia

    sequoia Registered User

    Jul 3, 2005
    19
    London
    Apologies

    I did not take in the part of your post about your grandmother having been put on drips already. So, it sounds like intravenous feeding is already being tried.
     
  5. traceymcn

    traceymcn Registered User

    Aug 4, 2005
    2
    Scotland
    Thanks

    Just wanted to say thanks to all that replied and thanks for advice and support. Good news is that my Gran seems to have got much better over the past two days and is managing to eat, albeit very little. She is speaking a lot more now rather than lying in and out of sleep graoaning (even though what she is saying is make believe, it's great to hear her talking again) the only difference I've noticed is that she seems to be a bit more aggresive in her talking. However, for now she seems to be hanging in there which is great news.

    Thanks again
    Tracey
     
  6. Sheila

    Sheila Registered User

    Oct 23, 2003
    2,259
    West Sussex
    Hi Tracy, great to hear your Nan is feeling better. I am sure you feel easier too now. It is such a worry when you love someone and are powerless to make them well. Hope things continue to improve, love She. XX
     

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