Not eating solids

Jilly88

Registered User
Aug 11, 2006
39
69
Margate, Kent.
Dear all.
My 93 year old aunt has not eaten any solid food for about three weeks now. I was giving her Meals on Wheels pureed food (as she has no teeth), but she has recently told me that she has lost her sense of taste. She's always been a bit funny about food, like hiding it all around the house, in suitcases, in plastic bags etc... a few months ago, she always wanted food - like every ten minutes. Now it's total turn-around. She had a small stroke 5 weeks ago and since then she's gone downhill fast. I've had an intermediate core team come round, but she won't have any bloods taken, no occupational therapy, no nursing care - say's she just wants to die in peace. I'm giving her three Ensures a day as she's still drinking, but how long can she go without solid food??? She's emaciated, like a stick. She's bedridden, the Doctor doesn't seem to be able to help much seeing as she's refused all help. Surely she must need proper food?
What do I do?
Thanks in advance for any help or shared stories about this matter.
With love
Jilly
 

Jilly88

Registered User
Aug 11, 2006
39
69
Margate, Kent.
PS - Do you all remember when I said that she ran around the house screaming for YEARS? She doesn't even get out of her bed now, and the screaming has stopped.. very suddenly. I'm not sure what's happening?? I'm very worried.
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
70,381
Kent
- say's she just wants to die in peace. Jilly
Perhaps she really does Jilly. It`s upsetting for you I know, but your aunt is 93, has Alzheimers and maybe she is tired and wants peace.

If she is taking liquids and food supplements, perhaps that`s all her body can digest.

Take care

Love xx
 

blue sea

Registered User
Aug 24, 2005
270
England
Dear Jilly
Pureed food has just as many nutrients as the food in its original solid condition, so your aunt is still receiving the goodness from the food. It sounds, from your description, that the doctor feels she has enough understanding of her situation to be able to refuse medical interventions and if this is the case, there is nothing else you can do except make sure she is kept clean, comfortable and free of pain. Perhaps your role now is to help support her with your comfort and presence and to try to accept her wishes. My thoughts are with you as you travel this difficult journey in trying to best support your aunt in the last stages of her life.
Blue sea
 

Nebiroth

Registered User
Aug 20, 2006
3,511
Well, you can go eithout food for a very long time. Unlike fluids - if you go without those, you'll be in trouble very quickly. An inactive person doesn;t use many calories either.

I believe that the usual dietary advice given for someone like your aunt is "calories" rather than struggling to get any semblance of a balanced "healthy" diet. It sounds brutal, but often the best you can hope for with someone of very advanced years who either can't or won't eat (or both) is to try to get enough calories into them to ensure they don't actually starve. So things like nutrition soups or the "complan" style shakes may offer at least a partial solution.

You can't actually force someone to eat.

For some time now my dad has refused to eat anything but jam sandwiches (with crusts cut off) and genoa fruit cake because he's scared he's going to get a "blockage" and die from that! He has lost weight, but not too bad. We have informed all the relevent parties that he just won't eat. We've been told that he's not actually starving, so just go on as we are...

It is remarkable how someone elderly can survive on a diet that wouldn;t keep a sparrow alive!

It is very distressing to see someone apparently trying to starve themselves though.
 

Nell

Registered User
Aug 9, 2005
1,170
68
Australia
Dear Jilly,

Your concern for your aunt does you great credit. You obviously care very much for her. Sadly, I have to agree with others who have said that it may be time to let your aunt dictate what she wants.

What we want is to keep our loved ones with us, but in reality, this is often not what they want. My Mum often says things like "hopefully I won't be here to see it" or "I won't be around next Christmas". I hate to hear it but I have come to realise it is her fervent wish.

If your dear aunt wants to go, perhaps you can find it in your heart to let her.....? If you are keeping her hydrated and comfortable, she will be OK. Who knows? Perhaps she will change her mind again . . . . ???

Wishing you all the best in this very difficult situation.
 

Jilly88

Registered User
Aug 11, 2006
39
69
Margate, Kent.
Thank you all for your replies and support.
I can't bear to think of my aunt's 'life' the way it is now. In a way, I'd like her to slip away quietly. She has no quality of life now - just sleeps all the time, can't walk, has no interests, has regressed in her mind to her primary school days, often asking where her friends are - all of whom passed away many years ago. I have to lift her onto the commode, bed bath her and just try to keep her comfortable. She has lost the will to live.
Will let you know how she is in the New Year.
Happy New Year to you all.
With much love
Jilly
xxx
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
70,381
Kent
Take care Jilly. The depth of devotion and compassion of TP members never fails to amaze me.
 

elaineo2

Registered User
Jul 6, 2007
945
leigh lancashire
Hi Jilly.
I have been concerned about this before,i am a care worker.I had more advice from TP than any GP.Perhaps the situation with your aunt is as suggested.she's struggling now,to put it in a nice way.perhaps theres a point whereby the hope to continue in life is shielded or broken
perhaps you all need peace,
love elainex