1. lou lou

    lou lou Registered User

    Nov 9, 2005
    46
    London
    I'm going to visit my mum after work tonight. She has been going downhill rapidly. She went into nursing care in August after 5 weeks in hospital when it was evident she could no longer be left at home ever without a carer. Toward the end of her stay in hospital she became quite depressed and went off her food.

    Unusual because my mother always had a good appetite and was a tremendous cook. After going into care her appetite picked up and she seemed to be enjoying her food she said the food was much better than in hospital. Then she had a chest infection rapidly followed by a UTI after which she seemed to lose her appetite.

    Consequently she has barely eaten for several weeks now. She only drinks because her diabetes is out of control and she has a raging thirst, even then she can take a lot of persuasion.

    Now she often refuses her medication as well as food. I have tried taking in some favorite foods trying to tempt her with things she used to like. But then she insists now she likes tea where prior to going into hospital in June I have never known her drink anything but coffee. She has no problem with swallowing but her dentures have become loose because of the rapid weight loss and her gums have been a little sore.

    This has gone on for several weeks now. They considered tube feeding her but her care team and her doctor feel she is too confused to cooperate with it. a) she wouldn't stay on her bed long enough for it to run through and b) they think she would pull the tube out in her confusion.

    I'ts difficult to know now how much of her confusion is caused by her deteriorating physical health and how much by her dementia. I've been encouraged by posters on this site who write of sudden turnarounds in their loved ones condition but I'm beginning to lose hope now.

    Two of my brothers insist this is her choice to end it all sooner rather than later but this is a woman who doesn't have the cognitive ability to step back from a door with her frame so someone can open it, I really don't think she could have planned this out as a strategy.

    I know if her condition does not improve we will be unable to have her home at Christmas with the added sorrow that Christmas day is also her birthday. ( and were he still alive it would be her wedding anniversay on Boxing day). This would be the first ever Chirstmas she was not at home with her family and it could be her last. Ever hopeful, I was just wondering if anyone has seen a return of appetite in a loved one after several weeks of food refusal ?

    Much love to you all

    Lou Lou
     
  2. Lynne

    Lynne Registered User

    Jun 3, 2005
    3,433
    Suffolk,England
    Oh Lou Lou, I'm so sorry.

    I can't offer any advice myself, as I haven't been far enough down the AD road to have had any experience worth relating, but I just had to chip in with a <<hug>> of sympathy.
    I hope things improve soon, Christmas is the pits with something like this hanging over the family.
     
  3. daughter

    daughter Registered User

    Mar 16, 2005
    824
    Hi Lou Lou,

    I expect you've seen some previous posts on this subject:

    http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/talkingpoint/discuss/showthread.php?t=1947&page=1&highlight=eating

    http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/talkingpoint/discuss/showthread.php?t=1915&highlight=eating

    Without giving you false hope, turn arounds can happen. My Dad's gone through a couple of food strikes, although he did not stop eating completely. He also sometimes refuses medication, and can skillfully filter out the tablets 'disguised' in yoghurt.

    I expect you've thought of this but (as your Mum's gums are sore, chewing may be painful), have you tried fortified milkshakes along with your persuasion? As you say it's difficult when you don't know the cause of refusal. Dad will sometimes tuck into a piece of cake with a fork without prompting, and then another time doesn't seem to know what to do with the food on his plate so ends up with Mum feeding it to him.

    Hope your visit went well.

    Best wishes,
     
  4. lou lou

    lou lou Registered User

    Nov 9, 2005
    46
    London
    Dear Lynne and daughter,

    thank you for your kind thoughts. and thanks for the links Daughter. I haven't had time to explore all of this site so it was useful to see what has been posted before on this topic.

    Mum is on her feet and wandering around the unit again but still not eating. The nursing staff spend up to an hour each mealtime with her but no joy. Added to which she is now very tetchy and gets easily irritated if the mere mention of food comes up.

    She seems to be feeling harrassed by everyone, not hard to imagine when nearly every interaction is in the form of some kind of gentle nagging to eat or drink.

    We have tried every type and flavour of Px drinks to no avail, perhaps because after years of diabetes she has an aversion to anything sweet so they are not very palatable to her.

    I am taking one of her old neighbours to visit this evening to see if that can manage to bring a smile to her face. I know her neighbour will be shocked at her weight loss and disorientation I just hope mum can no longer read too much of that in the interaction.

    Still as ( is it Norman ?) says, one day at a time....

    Lou Lou
     
  5. Lynne

    Lynne Registered User

    Jun 3, 2005
    3,433
    Suffolk,England
    Dear Lou Lou,

    Sorry to hear matters not improved, but pleased to learn that she's still able to walk about!

    A thought: are her toilet habits monitored and recorded. Sometimes when people are constipated, they consciously avoid eating in the belief it will help. Are the staff able to check this? (Mum may not remember accurately whether she's "been", especially if it embarrasses her to talk about it)
     
  6. sheilason

    sheilason Registered User

    Apr 21, 2005
    6
    kingsbury
    My beloved mum has recently stopped eating and our family,theres 5 children are there every day,well one of us are,encouraging,and yesterday she ate a sandwich,ice cream and drank milk,so it was like winning the lottery for us,so it does happen.
    We found that putting the food down,not forcing it down ,and encouragement works,now we are working on getting her walking about again,as she has suddenly become unwilling/unable to do so.
    We are a very close family mum is 78,and it is breaking our hearts to see the person,who I have loved more than any other person in my life,including partners,deteriate to such an extent.
    I was greiving almost before she was taken away from us,so it is a repreive ,so keep your chin up,it does change,for how long we dont know,but for a day or two we are feeling a lot better.
     

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