1. debsam

    debsam Registered User

    Jan 21, 2016
    3
    Hi,

    My mum is 80 and was diagnosed with Early Stages Alzheimer's 6 years ago. Luckily it has progressed slowly and she is still living on her own (in sheltered accommodation) and mainly managing to care for herself.

    She knows that she has problems with her memory and is very frustrated by it and hates to be dependent on us.

    We are very concerned that she is not eating properly. She tells us that she is eating but I know that she isn't. If someone makes a meal for her and puts it in front of her and sits there and eats at the same time, she is fine but she doesn't seem to make a meal for herself. I don't know if it because she doesn't remember that she hasn't eaten or that she can't be bothered to get up and make the effort.

    I work and I just can't be there every meal time to make sure that she eats. Even when we make easy to heat meals, she often doesn't bother to eat them. The complex that she lives in has a cafe and there is a restaurant that is open 3 evenings a week and 6 lunch times but she doesn't seem bothered to go down to there either unless someone takes her and eats with her.

    I am at my wits end as to what to do. Because of our life-styles and work commitments, we don't have a regular evening meal time otherwise I would have her come over every night but some nights we don't eat until 9pm.

    Does anyone have any suggestions?
     
  2. Quilty

    Quilty Registered User

    Aug 28, 2014
    1,056
    GLASGOW
    Is there anyone else at the sheltered housing who goes for lunch and would go get her? So many ladies are faring and friendly. It might enrich her life in other ways too. Or staff who can remind hercto go for lunch. If she has a decent lunch then she csn snack latercon.
     
  3. debsam

    debsam Registered User

    Jan 21, 2016
    3
    Not really. She knows a couple of people in the block but everyone keeps themselves to themselves really.

    The staff only come round in the mornings and evenings and are not on site the rest of the time.

    My m-i-l also lives in the same complex (different building) but never the twain shall meet (but that's another story)!
     
  4. AnneED

    AnneED Registered User

    Feb 19, 2012
    81
    East Yorkshire UK
    Hi,

    Mum was eating mostly cake and the occasional cheese sandwich at one point, and then only when she realised she was hungry, and drinking less and less. She had fridge and freezer full of food. She started with care visits half an hour a day at lunchtime Mon to Fri - the carers heated frozen main meals followed by frozen hot puds. As your mum has a café they could take her there to eat instead I guess.

    I know of a number of people mostly elderly, who didn't want care but actually enjoyed or benefitted from it when it was established. It does usually cost if the person has savings but in Mum's case it has really improved her eating and diet, and probably kept her living at home. She now has breakfast, dinner and tea, at the times that suit her, prepared by carers and lots of drinks given by them of which she drinks most. She doesn't acknowledge that they come in (oh no, I don't have care, just a cleaner) but has no problems accepting them providing food.
     
  5. Amy in the US

    Amy in the US Registered User

    Feb 28, 2015
    4,624
    USA
    Hi debsam, and welcome to TP. I hope you are able to find advice and support here (I know I have). Remember, it's always open!

    I'm sorry to hear about your mother and her struggle with appetite/eating/food preparation. I'm sure that her dementia is contributing to this in some way, although it may be subtle.

    I'm also sorry to say that this problem is a familiar story to many here on TP, including me. My mother (before diagnosis but 2-7 years after the first signs of Alzheimer's) also suffered from not eating. In her case, it was a combination of factors, but she ended up losing a lot of weight and becoming malnourished.

    Thoughts:

    -you might schedule an appointment with her GP just to make sure there isn't a physical problem interfering that might be causing a lack of appetite or other reason for her to eat less. This would also ensure the GP is aware of what's going on and could monitor her weight and for vitamin deficiencies, et cetera (trust me, you'd rather head off malnutrition than treat it).

    -she may not feel hungry

    -she may not remember to eat

    -there may be something else interfering with her eating a proper meal. (My mother also "couldn't be bothered" to fix herself a proper meal, even to heat something already prepared, but looking back, this was more about dementia and not really that she couldn't be bothered.)

    You say that she will eat if the food is prepared and she has company, so that seems like a place to try to find a solution. Could there be a prompt to go to meals in the cafe/restaurant? A carer, to go with her? A meal delivery, with company? A lunch club or day care she could attend? A carer to come in and prepare meals and sit with her so she eats?

    Perhaps others will have other suggestions for you.

    It is hard to deal with advances in the dementia, whether the signs are large or small, and can be very challenging to come up with workable solutions. Wishing you all the best.
     
  6. Mrsbusy

    Mrsbusy Registered User

    Aug 15, 2015
    356
    Just an idea, how about putting a notice on the notice board within the complex asking for a lunch buddy? Outline that you are looking for someone to pop in on your Mum everyday at lunchtime to escort her to meals, and have a chat etc. you could offer to pay for the other persons meal if you think that may help, ( but of course maybe advertise without that option first to see if you get any replies). If money management is a problem, could you leave an amount with the staff at the cafe each week maybe.

    Maybe have a word with the manager of the complex and see if there's a particularly chatty lady, or man of course, that they think maybe helpful if you explain the situation. I'm sure others need company too.
     
  7. debsam

    debsam Registered User

    Jan 21, 2016
    3
    Thank you for all your comments. I will speak to the complex and see what they can suggest. I was thinking too small I guess, just in terms of what I could do. I often forget that I can ask others for their help too.
     
  8. Moorcroft

    Moorcroft Registered User

    Nov 4, 2015
    70
    Is your mum actually losing weight or does she have other signs of malnourishment?

    I ask the question because it was asked of me by the social worker when mum had an assessment last year. I had a similar concern to you, that mum wasn't eating nutritious meals. She does not lose weight, even though she lives on tinned soup and sweet biscuits, but it means her diabetes management is chaotic.

    We tried getting a carer to come in for half an hour a day to heat up a meal, but it was not a success. The agency were not able to provide the same worker at the same time each day, so there was no regularity. And mum would not let them do anything for her, so they just sat on the sofa for half an hour. It was a waste of money.
     
  9. jknight

    jknight Registered User

    Oct 23, 2015
    786
    Hampshire
    I have the same worries about my mum. I provide good food that can be microwaved. Sometimes she has the meals but often she just makes sandwiches (plain cheese or ham - no salad as she used to) I regularly throw, out of date, food away. The house is well cared for and mum still does her hair and make up. She spends her time doing complicated jigsaws. She doesn't realise that she has memory problems and I am loath to bring in carers as it would really upset her. Any advice gratefully received!
    PS welcome Debsam! From one newbie to another! I
     
  10. AnneED

    AnneED Registered User

    Feb 19, 2012
    81
    East Yorkshire UK
    I used to try and trigger Mum's meals with phone calls - maybe worth a go - but often she would remember to eat straight after the call but still eat a sandwich at best. The first frozen meals ended up being thrown out after a year or so - she just didn't remember them. There was also an issue with her microwaving or cooking stuff and then leaving them to get cold in the oven. On one occasion I found a cold meal in the microwave mouldy, with another cold meal on a plate on top of it! Sometimes people support is the only way!
     
  11. Pear trees

    Pear trees Registered User

    Jan 25, 2015
    442
    The buddy idea for cafe lunch is a good idea, even only 2/3 times a week, and is there a lunch club with community transport in your area for some days? My mum will eat a 3 course meal at her lunchclub 3 times a week but only grazes on sandwiches cakes and fruit other days until someone brings her dinner.
     

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