Losing weight through refusing to eat or drink

Discussion in 'End of life care' started by Lynz2001, Feb 4, 2016.

  1. Lynz2001

    Lynz2001 Registered User

    Feb 4, 2016
    Hi, my father in law lives with us and is in late stages of dementia. He has two forms (vascular and alcohol - he use to have pubs during his working life so would drink with his customers). He lived on his own until 2 years ago when he had a fall and was taken into hospital. During this hospital stay we found out he was diagnosed back in 2007. We new he was getting forgetful but put it down to his age. He is 87 now.
    He gets regular uti and is on long term antibiotics to try stop them, however he has at least one once a month.
    My concern is over the last 3-4 months he has had 3 hospital stays due to uti and has lost his ability to walk. He is more confused but over the last few weeks he is refusing to eat. He may only have a couple of mouthfuls of a meal, if that. A few months ago we couldn't fill him, he was constantly asking and eating food.
    He doesn't talk to us and just sleeps all the time. When he is awake, you look in his eyes and he is in a different world
    What I am asking is could this be near the end?
  2. Onlyme

    Onlyme Registered User

    Apr 5, 2010
    #2 Onlyme, Feb 5, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2016
    Hello and welcome to Talking point.

    Its a very difficult call but I would certainly say that it sounds like he has entered the last stage of dementia and is now classed severe.

    Mum would go for a week with reduced fluid intake but then have a good day and drink. This repeated for some months.
  3. CJinUSA

    CJinUSA Registered User

    Jan 20, 2014
    eastern USA
    Hello. My mother recently went through a rough patch. Like your FIL, she is no longer ambulatory. When she is feeling poorly, she will refuse food. She doesn't feed herself; I feed her. And she does still like to eat, unless she's not feeling well. She has the vacant stare at times, and at other times, she gets fixated on things that don't make any sense to us. We toilet her by doing all the transfers. This requires two people for two transfers.

    The UTIs and hospital stays must be very hard for him to adjust to. The antibiotics will take him down. They could also be causing colon issues for him and a feeling of indigestion. Because antibiotics attack the "good" bacteria in the colon, you might want to consider introducting probiotics (they come in a capsule that is easy to swallow) so that his colon health will improve. If that improves, it's possible he'll feel hungry again. Or perhaps he wants to die and knows that refusing food is one way to do this.

    At any rate, to your question about whether this is the end, I'd say not quite, in your FIL's case and my mother's. People in their situation can go on for a year or more.

    Try to keep him comfortable, and keep us posted, okay?
  4. avocadofruit

    avocadofruit Registered User

    Apr 20, 2016

    Question for you, CJ in USA...I'm reading through these comments seeking insight into my grandmother's current state...she was diagnosed with a UTI, but is also in a similar state as both people you're describing.

    Would you suggest giving her the antibiotics, but also probiotics for the colon? Are there any other preventative measures you know of, to make the antibiotics less intense on the body?

    Thank you for any thoughts, if you see this...
  5. cragmaid

    cragmaid Registered User

    Oct 18, 2010
    North East England
    Just to interrupt.... Avocadofruit, have you tried giving the probiotic yoghurts, that way calories are being introduced at the same time? I certainly think that if the ABs have been introduced and the old lady can swallow them, they should be administered.
  6. Bill Owen

    Bill Owen Registered User

    Feb 17, 2014
    I think so

    hi name bill. Just lost my wife im march. Went in to hospitel in dec 2015.was told she is now in the last stage of her illness. Stop eating or taking liq. Yes i think so .this is very hard time for you to see this happen .so be storng
  7. birdy

    birdy Registered User

    Apr 3, 2015
    End of life care

    Hi. My sister and I have recently been with my dad as he passed away at home... and at the same time had to put my mom into alzheimers care in south Africa. We had a very helpful information booklet called Crossing the Creek. Just Google it and download it.... it's amazing and helped us so so much. It's now harder for me to deal with the thought of mom in care... even though it is very good care.... and being far away. I didn't realise it would hit me this hard. Knowing dad is gone is one thing.... but my feelings for mom are so hard. I suppose it's a combination.
    Anyway.... look at crossing the creek. It's amazing. Good luck all. I'm happy to share my experiences if you want ... having just gone through it.
  8. Kaz17

    Kaz17 Registered User

    Apr 28, 2016
    Refusing to Eat and Losing weight rapidly

    Hi, I am just wanting to get opinions from anyone who has been through the Dementia process. My dad is in hospital and the nurses have suggested it may be Dementia that they are looking at, Dad won't eat, he's not been eating for quite some time now he has resorted to a liquid lunch of the scotch kind. He is now at a stage of loss of bowel and bladder control, won't allow the nurses to do what they need to i.e. tests and becomes quite agressive(Not his nomal behaviour), refuses to eat any food, most days won't get out of bed and just sleeps all day. He also can't stand up which is how he came to be in hospital as my mum had to try to help him up the stairs to bed as his legs just gave way beneath him. He also has emphysema, but although he has always been thin he has rapidly lost weight even more over the past few months.
    I am on the other side of the world but when he came to see us last year he was doing a kind of a chunter often when he didn't seem to know he was doing it.
    He also had lost all interest in going anywhere or doing anything, he also swore black was white that he was 67 and not 66. His brain scan has shown shrinkage of his brain but apart from that all other tests he has had have not given any answers?
    Can anyone advise what they think, and if it is what stage it could be?
  9. CJinUSA

    CJinUSA Registered User

    Jan 20, 2014
    eastern USA
    Hello. It's hard when you are so far away. Your father needs a complete battery of tests run. If his brain is shrinking, it's possible he is experiencing vascular dementia, Alzheimer's, or a combination of both. Your mother cannot be taking care of him at this stage, so it's time to find out what resources are available for her to work with. I'm sorry. The situation seems to be progressing rapidly. Try to find out what exact tests were run, and try to inform yourself a bit more about dementia, so you can know what kinds of questions to ask of his doctors. If they are not in order already, get his papers in order, especially regarding two things - a power of attorney for his financial matters and one for his health care. In the US this is usually called an advanced health directive. It's time for someone to step in and help your mother work her way through the system to get the help she needs. I hope Izzy or fizzie will come by and offer their advice. The other issue I might suggest is that you think of starting your own thread next time, as this thread is where we want to be offering support to the original poster . . . .
  10. stanleypj

    stanleypj Registered User

    Dec 8, 2011
    North West

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