1. Les

    Les Registered User

    Jun 23, 2004
    40
    Hampshire
    Hi. Does anybody have any advice about getting through mealtimes when the Alzheimer's sufferer fights at the table? My Dad has recently started fighting through every meal - he tries to stand up, he leans in the food, he makes fists and throws food around, he can't sit still and gets very agitated and agressive. BUT if you feed him (by physically holding him down with one hand and both feet - he's really strong) then he eats the food! he keeps opening his mouth for more food and swallows it ok - in fact he always seems starving - but he still fights throughout the entire process and it is exhausting, depressing (and messy) trying to feed him. Any advice welcome....
     
  2. Kate P

    Kate P Registered User

    Jul 6, 2007
    565
    Merseyside
    Hi Les,

    Can I ask whether you all sit together to eat or whether your dad eats by himself?

    I ask this just because I wonder whether you could be in a bit of a circle with his eating habits. He's expecting you to hold him down to eat and so before the meal has started he is already very agitated?

    It sounds a bit crazy but my sister had this very problem with getting her daughter to eat. They were very tense about getting food down her so they forcibly fed her to get some food in her. Next meal time she expects them to do it again and so starts to put up a fight straight away. Again they did the same thing just to get some food in her and so went on an extremely stressful eating pattern that continued for several months until they finally stopped and said she'll eat when she's hungry. And she did!

    Have you tried sitting your dad down for his meal and leaving and going to another room yourself so he's by himself?

    Is there anyway you could distract him (I'm thinking TV or something here) and shovel it in as he's watching?
     
  3. Les

    Les Registered User

    Jun 23, 2004
    40
    Hampshire
    Hi Kate,
    My Mum is my Dad's sole caregiver. I go up as often as possible ( I live many hundred miles away in the south of england and my parents live in the north of scotland) and last week spent 4 days being the caregiver to give mum a rest. When we have mealtimes we do tend to all sit at the table together, but when I was there I found it such a trial that I suggested to Mum she feed him first and then eat hers afterwards. Dad's mobility is terrible. If we leave him alone in a room with the food he MIGHT eat it but he might also try to move and fall over doing so (this happens regularly if we don't watch him). He can only just about spoon food in himself. He shouts constantly. The only time I managed to get food into him last week without a struggle was letting him sit in his armchair in the living room and then feeding him dessert: no struggle, no shouting. Maybe it's a comfort issue?
     
  4. angela.robinson

    angela.robinson Registered User

    Dec 27, 2004
    520
    les , i think you have already found the answer , just feed dad in the comfort of his arm chair obviously he is much calmer there , and it gives the rest of you some peace to eat your own meal , ,i had to resort to this with my husband ,but the reason was more the mobility,the struggle to seat him at the table ,then feeding him and myself at the same time , to keep some normalacy just was not worth it , also the distraction of the telly kept him occupied whilst happily munching, however a word of caution ,in the late stages when telly became too real to him , he would not want them watching him eat , and started pushing my hand away , so , then no telly ,just calming music . the goalposts keep moving ,
    good luck
    Angela.x
     
  5. Kate P

    Kate P Registered User

    Jul 6, 2007
    565
    Merseyside
    Hi Les,

    It could be. It could be that he's associating the kitchen with unpleasantness and so is happier in the living room. It could simply be down to the living room being his "happy place" to some extent.

    I think it's time to give up having meals at the table and try and let him eat in his chair if he's happy there.

    It will probably mean you'll have to change the kind of food he has as he won't have the stability of the table but it's a small price to pay for calmer meals.

    We're having to be very careful with what we feed mum now as she doesn't seem to be able to tell if her food is piping hot and just eats it anyway. We've started lifting her food out with my daughters so it has plenty of time to cool off before she eats.

    As Angela says it's all about adapting everytime the goal posts move.

    Wishing you well.
     
  6. Les

    Les Registered User

    Jun 23, 2004
    40
    Hampshire
    Thanks folks. I guess it does seem obvious when you put it like that. It's just that recently my dad doesn't even seem to notice surroundings. He sits in front of the tv with his eyes either shut or so droopy he can't see anything. he dozes constantly. He never watches tv and doesn't really seem to notice much difference in his surroundings until we force him to. So I suppose I'm just surprised that surroundings mean so much to him. I guess we thought, mistakenly, that he would rather continue with as much normal 'family' life as possible, that somehow it would be a comfort to him. maybe not now.
    Les
     
  7. angela.robinson

    angela.robinson Registered User

    Dec 27, 2004
    520
    there are trays that can be fixed over the arms of the chair , or the O.T could maybe loan you an hospital like table that can slide under chair or bed , maybe you could also start some finger foods that he may pick at from the tray .
    Angela.
     
  8. Kate P

    Kate P Registered User

    Jul 6, 2007
    565
    Merseyside
    Ah Les, I'm sorry.

    It is sad as it's another step away from normality into the world of demetia. It is very likely that at one time that sense of family did help your dad enormously but the goal posts change as theit condition changes.

    It is sad, there's no doubt about it and I think it's quite normal to want to keep that sense of family as long as possible. I still have moments of disappointment when I try to engage mum in someway and she is oblivious to my presence.

    As untraditional as it is maybe if your dad is happy to eat in his chair in the lounge you could all eat in there on trays so you still have your family meal just slightly altered!:)
     
  9. Les

    Les Registered User

    Jun 23, 2004
    40
    Hampshire
    thanks. good plan.
    It's a comfort to hear others have been through similar. We are dealing with a rapid decline after years of slow deterioration, in a man who is not very old really, all things considered (he's 71 now). I'm hoping we can find a space in a care home Mum likes locally, as she can't cope with caring full-time for him any more. And I think it's important that Mum likes the home as she will be visiting him all the time. But until then, I want to find ways to help her cope, as she is exhausted and very very sad. Mealtimes and nighttime are the worst. I do what I can from such a long distance, calling every day, and I'll be flying up again in a couple of weeks. But it's not enough. is it ever
     
  10. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    17,000
    SW Scotland

    Hi Les. No, it's not ever enough, and I'm willing to bet your mum feels exactly the same! We never feel we've done enough.

    Your dad sounds just like my husband. He's 74 and has just gone int a care home. I feel terrible about it, but there comes a time when we have to admit defeat.

    It's your mum's decision, of course, but she might be very relieved if you bring up the subject of a care home, and help her look for a good one. She must be exhausted, but unwilling to admit it.

    You're a good son (daughter?) to take such care of your mum and dad. Please keep in touch.

    Good luck,
     
  11. Les

    Les Registered User

    Jun 23, 2004
    40
    Hampshire
    Thanks Hazel,
    I'm sorry to hear you are going through the same.
    When I was up there in scotland the other week Mum and I actually looked around 5 care homes. It was the first time we had looked, and we found it pretty traumatic. But anyway we did it, and we liked 2 of them ok - so now we are trying to get Dad into one of them. (long waiting lists though). So the first stage is over. We were supposed to put Dad into emergency respite for the first time whilst I was there, but we didn't like the place he was going and were really upset and we chickened out at the last minute. I think Mum would have been heartbroken if we'd left him there. I know I would have. I just hope the next time we are more confident. I know it won't be easy but I'm not sure we could ever be fully prepared.
    Thanks again
    Lesley ( - female - hard to tell on the black and white pages of a forum!)
     
  12. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    17,000
    SW Scotland

    Thanks for that, it is difficult to tell sometimes!:)

    I hope you manage to get something sorted out for your dad. You can put his name down on the waiting lists any you think suitable.

    I think the homes that do respite are often not the nicest, because they charge less, so SS give them the contract. John never had respite, he was booked in for one, but became ill before it happened. It's not one I woul;d have considered for permanent care.

    Love,
     

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