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Mum in law not eating

Buttonstheball

New member
Oct 19, 2020
6
Hi
New to group
Mum in law 79 Alzheimer’s - short term memory virtually gone . Once a happy soul now looks grey and faded . Won’t wash and declining appetite - says she is full but little evidence of meals taken and throwing lots of food away. Eats like a bird. Starting to wear same clothes , hair a mess and won’t shower despite carers twice a day - just says she will do it later , but doesn’t . Or she has eaten - but hasn’t . Physically fit but doesn’t go anywhere except to Tesco to buy food already got in house so throwing lots away . Just sits and watched Tv all day in a boiling hot house . Threw meals on wheels away or hid them so stopped that . Lives alone, widowed. My burning question is ... and I appreciate total honestly and direct answers here, how much longer can she go on like this ? Hate to see her so lonely and sad and we do all we can but can’t have her to live with us as both need to work full time financially . Is there is time frame here ? Just want to be prepared - she is a dear sweet lady and this seems cruel - answers very much appreciated if people have gone through this
Thank you
 

CardiffGirlInEssex

Registered User
Oct 6, 2018
229
She may not want care or to go into a care home, but it is almost certainly what she needs. Start by getting a needs assessment from Social Services. If this is likely to be a self funding situation, it may be worth paying for an independent social worker. This may also help decide if she still has capacity to enter into a Lasting Power of Attorney at least for finance, if one is not already in place. Very difficult situation for you, everyone on here can sympathise and many will be able to offer more detailed advice based on their experience.
 

lollyc

Registered User
Sep 9, 2020
72
If we could put a time frame on dementia, life would be (ever so slightly) easier. Unfortunately, no-one can say how long this will go on, but it's only going one way.
Do you think she would eat if someone sat with her? Maybe go for a walk if someone went with her? In our area, and I'm sure in others, there are organisations that provide "personal assistants", i.e someone (paid, of course), who has similar interests to MIL and could do these sorts of things. Many will do personal care, so could perhaps offer to do her hair, nails or make up, and encourage her to change her clothing. This isn't a carer inasmuch as no uniform, more a friend to do things with, which might be more acceptable.
Does she get Attendance Allowance, as this could be put towards funding?
Looking to the future, post Covid, are there any old peoples' lunch groups or similar locally? Some care homes offer daycare, or maybe a day centre? As well as the dementia she may well just be feeling very lonely and low, and something to look forward to every week might help enormously.
 

Rosettastone57

Registered User
Oct 27, 2016
1,402
Your mother in law needs 24/7 supervision with a whole team looking after her in a care home. My mother in law was in a similar situation when she went into care. Your mother in law's needs have now outweighed what she wants to happen.
 

lemonbalm

Registered User
May 21, 2018
891
Hello @Buttonstheball . I see you have already had some good advice. Is your mum on any medication? I am wondering if her doctor could prescribe an antidepressant to help with the low mood and lethargy, low dose Mertazapine perhaps. It sounds as though depression may be one of the issues here.
 

Helly68

Registered User
Mar 12, 2018
749
I agree with CardiffGirlinEssex - it does sound as though the time has come for a care home.
My Aunt was like this - having meals delivered, and hiding them, refused to let carers in and then made racist allegations. It was awful. We moved her to a sheltered flat, but really it was too late for that and a care home would have been better. Sadly, the issues will get worse rather than better as time goes on, but you may find that in a care home environment, with lots of other people, meal times become a social occasion again and she may benefit from having more people around and people all the time.
My Mum, who had mixed dementia, went fairly early to a care home, but she had been very unhappy at home and my father, her carer, was being driven to despair. She became happier in the care home, after adjusting, and formed strong bonds with the staff. She did much better in an environment where less was expected of her and there were comforting routines and people to talk to. I think it was, for us, the least worst option.
 

Buttonstheball

New member
Oct 19, 2020
6
She may not want care or to go into a care home, but it is almost certainly what she needs. Start by getting a needs assessment from Social Services. If this is likely to be a self funding situation, it may be worth paying for an independent social worker. This may also help decide if she still has capacity to enter into a Lasting Power of Attorney at least for finance, if one is not already in place. Very difficult situation for you, everyone on here can sympathise and many will be able to offer more detailed advice based on their experience.
Yes we have POA but she says her biggest fear is going into a home . She says she would hate it yet she is lonely . She is not a sociable person and has no friends , just wants family about . It’s so hard ..
 

Buttonstheball

New member
Oct 19, 2020
6
If we could put a time frame on dementia, life would be (ever so slightly) easier. Unfortunately, no-one can say how long this will go on, but it's only going one way.
Do you think she would eat if someone sat with her? Maybe go for a walk if someone went with her? In our area, and I'm sure in others, there are organisations that provide "personal assistants", i.e someone (paid, of course), who has similar interests to MIL and could do these sorts of things. Many will do personal care, so could perhaps offer to do her hair, nails or make up, and encourage her to change her clothing. This isn't a carer inasmuch as no uniform, more a friend to do things with, which might be more acceptable.
Does she get Attendance Allowance, as this could be put towards funding?
Looking to the future, post Covid, are there any old peoples' lunch groups or similar locally? Some care homes offer daycare, or maybe a day centre? As well as the dementia she may well just be feeling very lonely and low, and something to look forward to every week might help enormously.
Yes she does get carers allowance - where do we find these personal assistants ? We have a social workers meeting tomorrow - she doesn’t really engage with the carers just refuses everything they try to do politely but firmly as she sadly thinks there is nothing wrong with her and says it’s an “ intrusion “ .
 

Buttonstheball

New member
Oct 19, 2020
6
Your mother in law needs 24/7 supervision with a whole team looking after her in a care home. My mother in law was in a similar situation when she went into care. Your mother in law's needs have now outweighed what she wants to happen.
Agree- but she says she would hate it and she loves her home and cat - hard call
 

Buttonstheball

New member
Oct 19, 2020
6
I agree with CardiffGirlinEssex - it does sound as though the time has come for a care home.
My Aunt was like this - having meals delivered, and hiding them, refused to let carers in and then made racist allegations. It was awful. We moved her to a sheltered flat, but really it was too late for that and a care home would have been better. Sadly, the issues will get worse rather than better as time goes on, but you may find that in a care home environment, with lots of other people, meal times become a social occasion again and she may benefit from having more people around and people all the time.
My Mum, who had mixed dementia, went fairly early to a care home, but she had been very unhappy at home and my father, her carer, was being driven to despair. She became happier in the care home, after adjusting, and formed strong bonds with the staff. She did much better in an environment where less was expected of her and there were comforting routines and people to talk to. I think it was, for us, the least worst option.
Thanks this sounds hopeful - she says she wants company but has nobody save family , but instinct says she would be better with people around but she hates the idea - will see what social worker says tomorrow
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
422
Unfortunately you are far from alone in facing this situation. Elderly PWD is clear that she doesn't want to go in a care home, cannot grasp reality of her situation, but her needs can only be met in s care home. Live-in carers are an alternative in some cases but there are potentially s number of difficulties especially if the PWD is not keen on having a house mate. Sadly most families come to the eventual conclusion that a card home is essential, like it or not.
 

Buttonstheball

New member
Oct 19, 2020
6
Yes thank you - it’s just that she doesn’t seem like the typical care home patient I have in my mind . She dresses nicely And her house is tidy and she is eating tho very small amounts and knows who we all
Are - she loves her home - but watching tv all day can’t be good - but she has never sought the social company of others and hates the intrusion of carers alone so don’t know how she would cope - very sad situation
 

lollyc

Registered User
Sep 9, 2020
72
Yes she does get carers allowance - where do we find these personal assistants ? We have a social workers meeting tomorrow - she doesn’t really engage with the carers just refuses everything they try to do politely but firmly as she sadly thinks there is nothing wrong with her and says it’s an “ intrusion “ .
In our area there are at least 2 companies that provide these personal assistants. They check them etc., but you employ the person direct. I haven't used them, but know those who have - one lady employed one to play tennis with her husband. I think (but not entirely sure) that local authority funding can be used for this. Try googling "personal assistants for dementia" in the area, and see if that works. Social services may be able to advise. Our local Age UK offers a similar service, but I get the impression that this isn't something that they offer countrywide.
I'm afraid that, as with much with dementia, it may be a case of internet trawling to get the information.
Sorry not to be more help.
 

Rosettastone57

Registered User
Oct 27, 2016
1,402
Yes thank you - it’s just that she doesn’t seem like the typical care home patient I have in my mind . She dresses nicely And her house is tidy and she is eating tho very small amounts and knows who we all
Are - she loves her home - but watching tv all day can’t be good - but she has never sought the social company of others and hates the intrusion of carers alone so don’t know how she would cope - very sad situation
You say she dresses nicely, but in your opening post ,you say she wears the same clothes, doesn’t do personal care, hair a mess . Refusing personal care, not eating, buying food then not preparing it, not engaging with carers sounds like a tipping point for care . A person with dementia will always say no to any question, it's normal. With the meals situation, does she need someone to prompt her? Or someone to sit with her when eating? Can she use cutlery? Can she take the food out of the foil tray onto a plate? Can she coordinate washing up? Does she have a problem with teeth or mouth that prevents her eating? Or it could be that a loss of appetite is the normal progression of the disease. Does she only eat sweet food, this again is normal in dementia. If she's losing the capacity to do these things or the will to organise washing her hair, for example or doesn’t think there is anything wrong with her then she needs further supervision. It's got nothing to do with recognition of relatives, although this may be a further deterioration in the end.
 

BrokenWings

New member
Oct 20, 2020
6
Hi
New to group
Mum in law 79 Alzheimer’s - short term memory virtually gone . Once a happy soul now looks grey and faded . Won’t wash and declining appetite - says she is full but little evidence of meals taken and throwing lots of food away. Eats like a bird. Starting to wear same clothes , hair a mess and won’t shower despite carers twice a day - just says she will do it later , but doesn’t . Or she has eaten - but hasn’t . Physically fit but doesn’t go anywhere except to Tesco to buy food already got in house so throwing lots away . Just sits and watched Tv all day in a boiling hot house . Threw meals on wheels away or hid them so stopped that . Lives alone, widowed. My burning question is ... and I appreciate total honestly and direct answers here, how much longer can she go on like this ? Hate to see her so lonely and sad and we do all we can but can’t have her to live with us as both need to work full time financially . Is there is time frame here ? Just want to be prepared - she is a dear sweet lady and this seems cruel - answers very much appreciated if people have gone through this
Thank you
My mom stopped eating because she had trouble chewing food. We started ordering purée meals online. She started eating again and we had another 8 months with her before her final decline recently.
 

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