Help

SteveH

Registered User
Jun 10, 2005
7
Bideford, North Devon
Im new to this forum, im looking for help, my mother has alzheimers, the problem is that she will not eat, no matter what we give her she just play's with it, we have her on vitamin drinks, but she has lost so much weight she is now only 6 stone, can anyone give me some pointers as what we can do to make her eat, Doctor's just say it's part of the condition.
 

daughter

Registered User
Mar 16, 2005
824
Hi Steve,

My Dad does the same but only with certain foods. When he is given sandwiches, he lines them up neatly and doesn't appear to know what to do with them, it's like he has forgotten - I guess he has. He's ok with other food but did go through a phase of not eating very well until he was prescribed something for depression.

I imagine you have tried all different foods and can only suggest you might try 'fun foods' (strips of raw carrot, cheese, cooked chicken etc) that are also good for your Mum and hope that, after playing, she'll eventually try eating them! If she's ok with drinks maybe you could try millkshakes, hot chocolate and fruit juices, at least she will be getting some nourishment that way. I expect someone here will point you in the direction of a fact sheet and have more ideas.

Best wishes,
 

Norman

Registered User
Oct 9, 2003
4,348
Birmingham Hades
Hi Steve and welcome to talking point.
My wife went through a no eating period,the Dr gave her an appetite stimulant and assured me that she would eat when she was ready.
She did.
There are food supplements available,they are on prescription,so you would need to sound out the Dr about prescribing them for Mum.
There is a fact sheet availabl on eating.
Go to top left hand corner of this page and click on "Factsheets"
the one that may help is No511.
Hope this helps
Regards
Norman
 

SteveH

Registered User
Jun 10, 2005
7
Bideford, North Devon
Thanks

Hi Hazel
Thank you for the reply, I will try what you suggest, I think mum is now in the third stage, she has trouble drinking juice and water, someone suggest I try things like milkshake something thicker, yesterday was the first time she did not know who I was, that was a shock.

Thanks again

Steve
 

daughter

Registered User
Mar 16, 2005
824
Hi Steve,

Yes, even after having some knowledge of what's ahead, each new thing that happens it still a bit of a shock. Knowing who I am seems to come and go with Dad at the moment but when he occasionally calls me by my old knickname it catches me (pleasantly) unaware! :)

PS Don't forget to vote in the 'relation poll' - it's in need of some more caring sons like you!

http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/talkingpoint/discuss/showthread.php?t=1619

Take care,
 

Jude

Registered User
Dec 11, 2003
2,287
66
Tully, Qld, Australia
Hi Steve,

Eating can be a problem at times and it seems to come and go. My mother became very uninterested in eating for a time and lost a lot of weight too. She's eating well again now fortunately. It seems that AD can create a constriction in the swallowing mechanism in the throat which means that many people become lazy about eating.

Finger foods are a great idea, especially with a lot of colour. Food needs to be soft, easy to chew and swallow. The food also needs to be cut up into small pieces. It usually takes about half an hour per meal because people get easily distracted and forget what they are doing, so some supervision might be necessary until your mum starts eating again.

There has also been some research into the colour of crockery. For some reason, AD sufferers seem more interested in food which is served on plates which are yellow, blue or red. I bought blue and yellow ones for my parents and their food intake did increase quite dramatically.

Also - don't forget the water. Really important to keep up the fluids to prevent urinary tract infections and constipation. I found that Syrup of Figs was far better than Lactulose.

Hope this helps.

Jude
 

Sandy

Registered User
Mar 23, 2005
6,847
Hi Steve,

Welcome to Talking Point.

There is a very good web page that describes eating/swallowing difficulties in people with dementia which has been written by a speech and language therapist. You can find it here:

Swallowing problems for those with dementia

The Alzheimer's Society also has a fact sheet on eating and nutrition that includes a section on poor appetite and difficulties swallowing. You can find it here:

Fact sheet on eating and nutrition

Their recommendation for swallowing difficulties is to get the advice of a speech and language therapist.

Hope this is helpful in some way.

Take care,

Sandy
 

Robert

Registered User
Feb 25, 2005
44
Hello Steve,

I read your post ref your Mother's reluctance to eat and Sandy's reply indiacting relevent links.

Since my wife has the same problem, I also checked out the links, which amongst other ideas suggested alternating spoons of food with small sips of drink. After weeks of a poor appetite, I tried the alternating technique with my wife's evening meal today and was amazed at the improvement

It is only one success but it worked wonders for my frustation. If you happen to try the same method, I hope it helps your Mum too.

Best wishes,

Robert.
 

Sandy

Registered User
Mar 23, 2005
6,847
Hi Robert,

I'm so glad to hear that one of the techniques worked for you and your wife. That type of good news makes my day! :)

I had such sympathy with Steve's comment in his original post that "Doctor's just say it's part of the condition." Exchanging information on this forum and using the resources available on the internet shows that there are definitely means and methods to maintain someone's quality of life even when they are affected by demetnia.

Thanks for the comment on the CarChair also and yes, please do let us know how you get on.

Take care,

Sandy
 

alaneg

Registered User
May 2, 2005
13
Wirral UK
Hi Steve
I've been through this problem with my father refusing to eat. The doctor has now prescribed Fortisip drinks. These are like a sweet milk shake and come in various flavours. After Dad had got used to them, which took a couple of days, he started to really enjoy them. He takes 3 x 200ml bottles a day and according to the bottle they are suitable as a sole source of nutritian. Since he has been taking these it has removed a lot of worry as even when he was eating a bit I was always concerned that he was not eating the right things and maybe not getting all the correct vitamins etc.
Hope this helps and nice to meet another son carer!
 

SteveH

Registered User
Jun 10, 2005
7
Bideford, North Devon
Thank you all

Thank you all for your replies and help, at this time my mother is sleeping so much and will no longer eat, Im afraid that she is now fading, so hard to watch, she is no longer mum, I feel it is now just a matter of days before she leaves us :( , it will be such sad day for us all, but a release for her, she has gone down hill so fast this last month since her last fall, she has been bed ridden since then.

Once again many thanks to you all, I shall call in time to time,

Steve
 

daughter

Registered User
Mar 16, 2005
824
Hi Steve,

I was so sorry to read your sad news. I'm afraid I didn't realise exactly how ill your Mum had become when I last posted. Thinking of you,