My mum will not eat now

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by ElaineW, Jan 27, 2015.

  1. ElaineW

    ElaineW Registered User

    Oct 18, 2012
    I expect many of you have come across loss of appetite at some point - I can't even get mum interested in all the sweet foods she used to love - i.e. chocolate, biscuits, cakes etc yet alone trying to put a "proper" meal in front of her. Everything I put on a plate just ends up in the bin, she will not even take a mouthful, just says she is not hungry or doesn't like it. I always try to make it look appetising, small portions and not too much choice but still it goes un-touched. She is now on energy drinks prescribed by her GP so she is getting by on 2 or 3 of those a day. Just wondering if this is a phase and waiting for her appetite to improve. Her swallowing seems to be OK but I am getting worried on how much longer she can just get by with energy drinks. Any tips on tempting foods would be much appreciated. Mum seems to have gone downhill very quickly with one thing or another the last few months - is stopping eating another few steps nearer the end of life stage. Feeling very anxious. xxx
  2. notsogooddtr

    notsogooddtr Registered User

    Jul 2, 2011
    My mum does not have a diagnosis of dementia but definitely signs of it.She also lost all interest in food and drink when she lived in her flat.This continued when she was admitted to hospital severely dehydrated.She actually lost 26%of her body weight in 6 months.She is now in a care home and has gained a little weight.This seems to happen quite a lot,don't know why but I'm very grateful
  3. submarine

    submarine Registered User

    Apr 5, 2013
    I m having the same problem with my mother and I agree it is very anxiety producing.
    I do hope you find something your mother can tolerate.
    does she get nauseous as well?

    Mine lives with me at home and it 's terrifying to think she is going to waste away while I look on helplessly.

    I do manage to give her floradix once a day so at least she gets some nutrients without having to actually eat anything.

    I ve spoken to the GP. Her bloods are good and all other vitals are ok. I could get those calorific drinks from the chemist but I still worry. She has tried them in the past but they are so rich they make her feel quite uncomfortable. He thinks it may be dementia related. I have now called the memory team and will let you know what they say.

    She does manage to eat one slice of bread with butter on it as long as it is cut into quarters and has the crusts cut off. Other than that a few frosties ( the cereal ) on a plate get eaten over a few hours. But if she can't see the plate through the food she won t touch it.

    I wonder if anyone else has any ideas?

    Sent from my iPad using Talking Point
  4. Tin

    Tin Registered User

    May 18, 2014
    While my mum lived alone her weight dropped below 6 stone. Now she is living with me and on anti depressants her appetite has increased, eating 3 plus meals a day, but the weight has only gone up to just over 6 stone. the magic dish that got mum eating again was her favourite fish, chips and mushy peas, she had this almost every night followed by another favourite, rice pudding.
  5. Katrine

    Katrine Registered User

    Jan 20, 2011
    #5 Katrine, Jan 28, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2015
    Have you ruled out physical difficulties other than swallowing? These could be uncomfortable dentures, tooth abscess, mouth ulcers, oral thrush. How is her sense of smell? It's harder to take an interest in food if you can't smell it, or have a nasty taste in your mouth.

    Maintaining fluid intake is very important, not least because this helps to move waste products through the gut. A sluggish digestive system allows toxins to be reabsorbed and depresses the appetite further. Does she still have bowel movements?

    The problem with getting her to eat is that she has no understanding of the long-term effects of refusing to eat. We had this with MIL. It was always "I'll have something later" or "I've not long eaten" or "I won't have anything now or I won't have any appetite for my tea". So frustrating, especially as she would eat like a hungry horse when taken out for lunch. By the time she ended up in hospital she was malnourished with scaly skin on her legs due to vitamin deficiency. This despite daily visits from family.

    My dad, who did not have dementia, lost his appetite and began to lose alarming amounts of weight. If you don't feel hungry and the sight and smell of food nauseates you, it is understandable that you think you'll wait until you feel better. Eventually my dad got scared by the weight loss and invented his own high calorie diet of cheese, peanuts and Indian snack food (which contains batter and oil). He was not one for green vegetables, milk or sweet things so protein and fat suited his needs.

    It is usually recommended to try and encourage grazing if someone can't cope with meals. A small plate or saucer with things they can pick at, e.g. little cubes of cheese, squares of chocolate, slices of banana, halved grapes, jelly babies, squares of fudge, small segments of Scotch egg or sausage roll, a few cooked chips, potato crisps, nuts, raisins, chocolate finger biscuits, marshmallows.

    Any calories are better than none. The aim is to stimulate a small amount of appetite and then keep the momentum going. It took my dad about 2 months to actually feel hungry again.
  6. submarine

    submarine Registered User

    Apr 5, 2013
    Sorry it' s taken me so long to let you know what the memory nurse said. It was very unhelpful!

    I contacted the Alzheimer's association chat line which was much more sympathetic and was told that this can be a major problem but to look at their article on it within this website.

    I had to get the doctor to do a home visit because I was so worried. My mother is convinced that if she doesn't eat she won't be sick so the doctor thinks it might be due to taking painkillers on an empty stomach. She has now prescribed ant acids and anti-nausea medications in the hope that She can be encouraged to eat without her fear of vomiting it all up again. More pills to take on an empty stomach.

    Lately my mother has been saying things that indicate she is ready to go to the next place. This is very unlike her . I get so upset . I ve wondered if she has decided she will gradually fade away if she doesn't eat. And now I can't eat or sleep for the worry of it all.

    I hope the OP has found something to tempt her caree to eat at least something.
    I wish I had something more helpful to suggest.

    Thinking of you all

    Sent from my iPad using Talking Point
  7. garnuft

    garnuft Registered User

    Sep 7, 2012
    It's very worrying, submarine and I'm sorry to sound like a stuck record...
    (I mention it whenever this subject is broached as it was so helpful to my Mam)
    ...but another member on here, Grove, recommended to me to try Fortijuice.

    It's a thin, fruit flavoured drink, fairly calorific and containing most of the important nutrients.

    It comes in lots of flavours and isn't as thick and cloying as Fortisip. My Mam was prescribed it by her GP so there was no need to buy it.

    I would ask your GP to prescribe it, see how your Mum gets on with it.
    Lots of other members have encountered the same worry with their loved one and lots have gone on to regain their appetite.

    Don't lose heart yet, I know how worrying it is.
  8. submarine

    submarine Registered User

    Apr 5, 2013
    Thank you so much for that information. Perhaps it is a broken record but I've never heard of it!
    I ll try it.


    Sent from my iPad using Talking Point
  9. stephonia

    stephonia Registered User

    Jan 30, 2015

    I am A carer for a lady who causes me much stress with her lack of eating .She has Fortisips milky drinks all Flavours ,I found she had got sick of them .Boring ,So I asked the GP for
    Neutral ones which I can hide in cereal jellies,Rice puds coffee, horlicks, etc You can get A recipe sheet fr the DN for Ideas ,A lady mentioned Forti juices ,I am gonna try them as well .I leave sweeties in A little pot .at all times ,I offer little and Often, even if its sweeties or cake of Biscuits .She has gained A few pounds since Xmas .Even after A meal i say shall we have A choccy .She very often now says yes .Also A food Liquidiser ,To make healthy soups ,You can then add the plain Fortisips to it .She has no teeth or Dentures ,,,,just Gums so I offer fish a lot .Or Quorn Mince made into Shepherds pie as its easy to chew .I found she was Spitting out even Minced beef .I slow cook things ,I ask the Delhi counter to slice beef ham and chicken so thin you can see through it ,She will eat it then .Its A game of try this try that but don't Emphasise you are Worried about their eating .
  10. ElaineW

    ElaineW Registered User

    Oct 18, 2012
    Thank you so much everyone for your helpful tips and feedback, it has been oh so very useful and just to know that this is not an uncommon problem is reassuring. Mum's anti depressants have now been changed which has given her more of an appetite, but if she doesn't like the look of it she just won't touch it and it's so hard to make meals like cottage pies and casseroles look appealing - it just spreads all over the plate and looks masses of amounts. I like the sound of the grazing idea, she is certainly better with bits and pieces like that, I just then feel she is not getting enough goodness into her apart from the Fortisep drinks which she luckily enjoys. I try to involve her even with a bit of the preparation. I do find that if you put more than 3 different sorts of food on the plate mum seems to get very confused and asks what do I do with it, she tends to eat say the meat first, then the veg and will leave the potato. Too many things on one plate definitely seems to cause her stress. You asked me if she feels nauseous (Submarine) I think, yes she does - takes 3 anti sickness tabs each day - and she is adamant she will be sick sometimes before she even gets the food into her mouth and how right she is sometimes, as soon as a meal has been eaten, she is almost immediately sick but this has been a problem since her brain haemorrhage 6 years ago. Your comments all made very interesting reading and thank you all taking the time to responds. Sorry my reply took so long to thank everyone, but you know how it is - not enough hours in the day when you are looking after someone. xxx:)
  11. Noswestry

    Noswestry Registered User

    Feb 17, 2015
    Yes eating big problem. My partner doesnt eat very well at all. I have been left to do cooking etc but am making mess of it. I have health problems and cannot stand fir pong and prep foid. So snacks all day. Could do with meals on wheals but nothing available. Soc ser say get ready meals. Not really that bothered. Hope your mum settles into accepting food. I understand things can go in phases abd may change. My partner gas bad mood swings so im hoping they change. Ive found everything has been too late. Help support advice all late. Ive fed this back to alz soc but doubt things will change. I had mem team keep asking me what i wanted. But difficukt to know what want when in middke of a nightmare. You just wsnt it to end. I hope things get better for you. We can only do our best and sometimes that just msy not be enough but thsts how it is. Take care.

    Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.