Not eating, but not that far gone

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by TraceyM, Dec 15, 2015.

  1. Cupcake43

    Cupcake43 Registered User

    May 11, 2014
    Hi, I just wanted to share some of the things that we have found has helped my mum whose appetite has reduced. She has lost about 15Kg. My Dad now uses full fat milk and adds some skimmed milk powder to fortify it to help with the calories. He uses this for her breakfast, tea, coffee. He also does smaller portions and she will have a snack in the morning and in the afternoon. We use the complan once a day at the moment, vanilla flavour to make a latte which she enjoys and also the chocolate flavour for hot chocolate. The other tip we have found has helped to improve mum's appetite is involving her in the kitchen when cooking. The smell of the food seems to be stimulating her appetite. We also make sure the food she has is easy to eat with just a fork or even her fingers.
  2. Cat27

    Cat27 Volunteer Moderator

    Feb 27, 2015
    Welcome to TP cupcake :)
  3. stanleypj

    stanleypj Registered User

    Dec 8, 2011
    North West
    Can someone who knows what FAST 1-5 is explain to those of us who have never come across it before? Thanks.
  4. garnuft

    garnuft Registered User

    Sep 7, 2012
    Functional Assessment STaging, Stanley. Think it might be a U.S based assessment tool.

    Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point
  5. Grable

    Grable Registered User

    May 19, 2015
    My mum seems to be in a similar situation -she seems to be making a point of not eating, making sure everybody knows she's not hungry. That said, when I visited last week, I made a stew in the slow cooker one day and made sure it had plenty of herbs in it so it would smell appetising while it was cooking. Later in the week I made some stir-fried vegetables with lots of oregano. I also put a smallish portion on a large plate for her. She ate a fair amount of both these things. So, herbs and large plates might be worth trying!
  6. garnuft

    garnuft Registered User

    Sep 7, 2012
    A point often mentioned on this forum and one I do not buy in to, is that people choose not to eat as it is their way of having autonomy.
    I'm afraid hunger is the most basic desire and it takes a great deal of willpower to overide feelings of hunger.
    IMO the lack of hunger is caused through the parts of the brain involved and the chemical imbalance that results in no appetite.

    My mother was emaciated. She did not choose to starve, her diseased brain meant she had a stunted appetite.

    Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point
  7. stanleypj

    stanleypj Registered User

    Dec 8, 2011
    North West
    I think that is likely to be true in the great majority of such cases Gwen.
  8. AnneED

    AnneED Registered User

    Feb 19, 2012
    East Yorkshire UK
    Just a few ideas from my experience with my mum who was always a person with a hearty appetite who ate anything. It may not help but you never know. She did not want people to serve her up a plate of food for a while and would look at it as if it made her sick, but would nibble endlessly on sweet things when no-one was looking - they'd just disappear. We started having shared meals where possible, (she lives alone) with the food in serving dishes. She could have as much or as little as she wanted, and seemed to prefer this, and could help herself to tiny amounts. She eats well again now but still prefers a small amount and then maybe extra. She still has a fear of being given 'too much'.
    She loves sauce so making any sort of sauce available produces a better result - even if it's ketchup with a roast dinner.
    She prefers to eat if others are eating too and this takes away the feeling of her being 'watched' eating, and adds the feeling of a 'normal meal' from the past.

    Our problem now is getting her to drink enough but we never ask her if she wants a drink but always put one in front of her; add a biscuit so tea gets drunk; ask if she's finished when she clearly hasn't as this will often produce a 'drinking up' reaction. Offer to 'top up' hot drinks if they get cold as that creates more interest in drinking more; ask her if she wants us to tip out drinks as she doesn't want them - that produces the 'waste not want not response' of nearly always finishing things off. We also provide puds that are fairly liquid (trifle etc) or have custard or cream and encourage soups, cereals etc at appropriate times.

    She now eats a fairly balanced menu and drinks enough most of the time, but everyone has to get into her routine.
  9. copsham

    copsham Registered User

    Oct 11, 2012
    When my mother was in the early stages about three years ago, she was in hospital for 8 weeks with infections. She refused to eat, lost a lot of weight and I thought she was exerting her control. Then when she was discharged home to 24 hr nursing care, it transpired her false teeth were "caked' into her mouth and could not be got out and she had seversl sores in her mouth. No wonder she couldn't eat. I felt bad for thinking she was excercising her control over something.

    She moved to a nursing home and gradually picked up. My emaiciated mum is now over weight, loves her food and is so much happier!
  10. esmeralda

    esmeralda Registered User

    Nov 27, 2014
    That's a really interesting point. My husband seems to have suddenly lost his appetite following a UTI. At first I think it was because he was unwell but he's been better for a week or so now but the eating has not got any better. Interestingly he still eats his porridge for breakfast without comment. Maybe because it's like a ritual which happens at the same time every morning. If there's any choice he refuses food. Trying to tempt him this evening I asked what he would like to eat and he replied 'The Danish Girl'. I think because it had just been reviewed on the radio.
  11. sleepless

    sleepless Registered User

    Feb 19, 2010
    The Sweet North
    Esmeralda, I wonder if the antibiotics for the UTI may have been responsible?
    Many years ago (well before AD) my husband had a type of pneumonia and was put on Clarithromycin. Everything he tasted was 'awful', and it was very difficult to get him to finish a meal, not to mention a bit upsetting when I had cooked his favourite dishes.
    Strangely though, he was given this same medication recently with no noticeable effect on his taste buds or appetite.
    If it is the effect of medication it should wear off. The porridge is a puzzle though......
  12. Doghouse

    Doghouse Registered User

    Dec 30, 2015
    Folkestone, Kent
    Just been reading this post. My mum only got her diagnosis on Tuesday but she has been not eating properly for a long time. She ended up being admitted to hospital as her blood sugars had dropped to 2.2 and was having a hypo. She ate better while in hospital but I have noticed that the not eating habits are starting to creep back. I have made her carers aware as well as she will tell them she will eat later and then doesn't. Like someone else has said I have been told it's not nice, she has indigestion or after a couple of mouthfuls is full up. However she always seems to enjoy the sweet things that she shouldn't really eat due to her diabetes. Interesting to see that other people are experiencing this as well.
  13. Norfolklass

    Norfolklass Registered User

    Feb 14, 2007
    I’ve totally brainstormed here generally from my own experiences, so some may be of help and others totally irrelevant so apologies for these. Tried searching on FAST1-5, but couldn’t find anything to spell out what this meant.
    Check your mum doesn’t have problems swallowing something my mum had. Also ask her if she finds the food bland (a common age complaint and particularly with my dad), if so spice it up, but not really hot curry flavours, but more samosa spice level. Also increase salt, yes I know supposedly bad but in older years does it really matter.
    Food is very much with your eye and your smell region, so introduce smells and eye things subliminally. IE introduce a smell of a food or pictures of food, before you serve anything up. Mum totally went off food and what I tried is really small problems, even a step behind child portion size. Try doing this on an average plate, then no joy, try on a really smaller plate.
    Sandwich, cut the crust off, quarter sandwiches and then remove one quarter, before giving it to her.
    I found if I tried to push the food, mum would not respond at all, so I put things to the side of her, almost grazing a few tasty bits even over an hour or so, things she could dip in and out of. Dainty sizes, one bite and finished. No joy I then purchased high energy drinks, again just put them by her, hoping she would drink them. Food she enjoyed as a child, cucumber sandwiches put only a few crusts cut off, a small portion of rice pudding perhaps with a drizzle of syrup on. Mum would eat bananas like they were soon to be going out of fashion. Also mum would eat chocolates, not brilliant but at least it was something
  14. nitram

    nitram Registered User

    Apr 6, 2011
    North Manchester
    "Tried searching on FAST1-5, but couldn’t find anything to spell out what this meant."

    When the OP, who has not logged on since 19[SUP]th[/SUP] December but may have viewed incognito since then, said 'She is in FAST1-5, but does not want to eat.'
    I think they were querying whether a person below stage 6 on could be expected to be refusing food.
  15. Mango

    Mango Registered User

    Mar 16, 2014
    New Zealand
    #35 Mango, Jan 4, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2016
    Potential strategies...

    I too struggle to keep Mum's weight up, she has lost 15 kgs over the last few years which did not need to disappear...

    Mum says she likes the meals that my sister and I make, but that they are "too big" - not true, her main meal fits on a bread and butter plate! So, we have a few tricks...

    - meals we make for her may be small, but are calorie packed - lots of cream, butter etc used.
    - more is eaten if Mum has company while eating
    - when eating in one of our homes, a small portion is served on a big white plate. I too have a small portion, and when we have both finished, I'll announce that the food was so nice, that I am having seconds, shall I get her some while I am up? Mum invariably agrees to "just a bit more" :)
    - I often say, "I tried this new recipe last night - here is some for your dinner today - see what you think." Mum then seems to feel she is helping me out by giving an opinion...
    - Every drink (tea or coffee or fruit juice) is accompanied by a small treat.
    - Mum seems to accept food served by my husband or brother-in-law more readily than when my sister and I fill her plate.
    - A dietary supplement "Ensure" is called "the drink from the doctor", and as such, her two servings a day are never missed!

    Hope something there is useful,
  16. whileaway

    whileaway Registered User

    Dec 11, 2015
    Partly about Porridge

    My father went through a spell of not eating, but is improving now. My mother makes porridge with egg, nuts, seeds, peanutbutter, dried milk, dried fruit, spices, banana, and it is delectable. She even adds spinach. It reminds me of midieval fare, but good, healthy. (Sometimes she puts soya protein in.) She is 90 and caring for my 94 year old father, who has mixed demenia. If you want her recipe, I will ask her for it. ( I believe the egg can be whipped so that it is all quite light in texture. It's made in the microwave, in a small bowl.) I want Jamie Oliver to put it in his Oldie Cookbook!
  17. whileaway

    whileaway Registered User

    Dec 11, 2015
    When my father stopped eating, he was also taking antibiotics for a UTI. That was doubly frustrating as his urine was dark and smelly, and he wouldn't drink. But he is now almost himself again!
  18. percot

    percot Registered User

    Jan 4, 2015
    I am glad I found this thread. My mother was taken to hospital with a very painful UTI last week. She was given a litre of saline drip and seemed to improve after that. She ate nothing that day but that is understandable if she was in pain. She is still not eating but is drinking little and often. I will keep an eye on it especially when her course of trimethoprim finishes.

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