1. Daughterinlaw1973

    Daughterinlaw1973 New member

    Sep 24, 2019
    Hi, I'm new here. My mother in law has Altzheimers, has had for a number of years, but lives alone with support from family and neighbours. Character-wise, she's still the same, easy going and pleasant, albeit with a 30 second short term memory, but our worry is her eating. She exists on biscuits and cakes. We buy her M & S dinners but they end up in the bin. She absolutely refuses to have carers coming in. The family do her housework and gardening and we visit twice a week (we live a 45 minute drive away) and we phone every evening to remind her to take her tablets and nag her to eat her dinners. She's convinced she eats well and that she cooks fresh vegetables etc (we do all her shopping so we know she doesn't) If we turn up unexpectedly she is always wearing her dressing gown so we know she doesnt bother dressing ( a neighbour has confirmed this). On Sunday I shampoos her hair and when she took her top off I was shocked at how thin she looked - like a Belson inmate. We are at a loss as to how to help her. Any advice would be appreciated.
  2. AliceA

    AliceA Registered User

    May 27, 2016
    You need to report it to her GP, it is a problem.
    Several on here feed their husbands well but there seems to be a point when it is to little avail. Others may have better answers, you could ask for supplements from the GP. This drinks help to put back what the body needs. I put it on cereal. Some are reluctant without a dietician.
    Eating on ones own can be an effort. Is there a lunch club near? Or a neighbour that would cook for two if the food was offered in exchange?
  3. Sirena

    Sirena Registered User

    Feb 27, 2018
    You need to organise daily carers for her.

    My mother got to the 'not eating' stage fairly early in her illness. Even if there was a ready meal in the fridge she could not prepare it, or even remember to eat it. She lost a lot of weight. So I arranged daily carers (self funded) who were there to prepare breakfast and sit with her while she ate it. They then took her shopping/to the park and did her housework and anything else which needed doing, and then prepared her lunch, ditto.

    That was the only way she would eat - if someone prepared a meal, and then supervised while she ate it. There is no other way round it.

    I assume one of the family has financial LPA? If so, just arrange it and tell her a nice lady is coming round to help her. Do not use the word 'carer'!

    Don't take no for an answer. It's difficult imposing your will on a parent, but it's necessary in this type of situation. As long as she likes the carer, she may well accept it - it's making the 'decision' which she will find impossible, so you need to do that for her.
  4. Rosettastone57

    Rosettastone57 Registered User

    Oct 27, 2016
    I agree with other posters. There comes a point where the person with dementia's needs outweigh what that person wants. You have reached that point. My mother-in-law was very much like this . She lived on her own she wouldn't eat properly and the only way to deal with it was to employ carers . She was self-funding, to come in to heat up a meal in the microwave and sit with her while she at it . It sounds like your mother-in-law has reached the stage where she needs to be prompted with a physical presence of someone with her.

    My mother-in-law also refused to dress herself and there were many occasions when my husband and I would find her still wandering around in her bungalow with only a nightdress on at 4 p.m. By employing the carers to come in initially first thing in the morning to make sure she had something to eat and drink for breakfast, my mother-in-law did not want to be seen undressed with carers coming in so this prompted her to get up and get dressed. If you have financial power of attorney in place and your mother-in-law is self-funding just go ahead and organise something don't discuss it with her. Tell her it's a free service that everyone gets at a certain age.
  5. Lynmax

    Lynmax Registered User

    Nov 1, 2016
    My mother too forgets to eat but is convinced she is shopping and cooking meals. I spoke to her this evening and she told me she had made fried eggs and bacon for tea on her gas hob - that would be a miracle as she had a gas shut off valve fitted on Friday and she doesn't have the key!

    We knew about this for a while and have been able to make sure she has a cooked meal each day with one of her three children and only buy her cold snacks to eat for other meals. She only seems to buy chocolate and cakes at the shops but she is very healthy - at almost 87, she is the fittest at her keep fit class! I am happy for her to have one good two course meal each day.

    The love of sweet things is very common in PWD.

    So your solution, if family or friends cannot eat with her once a day, is to employ a carer to be there at a meal time.
  6. Daughterinlaw1973

    Daughterinlaw1973 New member

    Sep 24, 2019
    Thanks everyone. My MIL has never eaten much even before dementia began and when we go to see her, she eats the tiniest amount. She dosnt go ou now, either. I'll show your comments to my husband. Thanks again.
  7. Toony Oony

    Toony Oony Registered User

    Jun 21, 2016
    Hi @Daughter in law 13
    I've written several times here about my mother's issues regarding eating - or rather, not eating. Also about hiding and disposal of food in many strange places! Mum has been in a CH for the last 2.5 years, but when she lived in an Assisted Living apartment it was a constant worry. I employed Carers but Mum would not eat when they were there and hid, disposed or refused the food prepared. I was at my wits end as she got thinner and thinner and felt more and more poorly due to being so undernourished. I got to the point that I really didn't care what she ate, as long as she ate something. The fortified drinks that have already been mentioned were hugely helpful especially as Mum really likes them. I bought them for her when she was at home, and she continues to have 2 per day at the CH. They are not replacement drinks - but supplements - however every little helps!!
    At the CH she continued and continues to eat a tiny amount, and she is like a walking skeleton. We have seen the hospital dietician but the only thing that achieved was to reinforce to me that if Mum liked something, then give her a second helping. If she would only eat cake - let her have 2 slices. Basically capitalize on whatever Mum would eat and keep the supplement drinks coming. If it wasn't for the drinks, soup, weetabix and cake - I don't think Mum would be here.
    My own view in my Mum's situation is that eating is a control thing (in fact her behaviours were very like those exhibited in anorexics). As she became less able to control her day to day life, the one thing she could control was her food intake.

    I sincerely hope you find a solution that works.
  8. Palerider

    Palerider Registered User

    Aug 9, 2015
    North West
    #8 Palerider, Sep 25, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2019
    My mum is very similar, and she won't let the carers help her. I live with mum so on my days off (4 a week) I cook and she eats quite well although she won't clear her plate. But when she is on her own she no longer heats up her ready meals as she forgets they are there or she says she doesn't fancy them or she has cooked something else which isn't true. She survives on cake and chocolate. A couple of weeks ago when she had short sleeves on and I was stunned at how much weight she had lost, she literally had no muscle left, just skin and bone on her arms. No matter what we do we cannot win, even if I am present there are times she won't eat all of the meal I cook and she can't complain because its good food. Now, when I am at work I have resorted to ensuring she has a fully stocked chocolate supply which currenty is bounty bars and mars bars and also a well stocked selection of cake, which she eats by the mountain. PWD do get these sweet fatty food cravings over other food and I am sure it is linked to the disease itself as I have posted elsewhere. If I come home and find she has eaten her chocolate and cake then I am happy she has had something at least.

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