Problems with food...

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by bid, Apr 13, 2006.

  1. bid

    bid Registered User

    Apr 13, 2006

    I'm new here!

    My dad is nearly 76, and he has Vascular Dementia.

    My mum's main problem is that she has not been given any practical advice on how to deal with his various difficulties.

    At the moment she is at the end of her tether because he is largely refusing to eat any 'proper food'. He is insistant that he has throat cancer (he doesn't!) and spits out most of his meals, saying he can't swallow any lumps.

    BUT...his main obsession at the moment is sweets, and he can happily scrunch his way through kitkats, crunchie bars, toffee, etc, etc!! So he can obviously manage these kinds of lumps!

    My mum would love to hear any advice from other carers who have struggled with similar problems. At the moment he is even picking out the tiny flecks of fruit in yoghurt because he says he can't swallow them!

    Also, we are all having difficulty with how to deal with his behaviour in general. I work with young adults with severe learning difficulties, but I don't know whether the strategies I would use at work are appropriate to use with someone who has dementia, if that makes sense. For example, yesterday he spat out a lot of food onto the table, ignoring the tissues he had been given. Now, at work, if one of my students did something like this I would firmly but kindly insist that they clear it up as best they could. But is it appropriate to do this with someone with dementia??

    Sorry for such a long post, but we have so many questions about practical advice!

  2. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    My mother use to spit her food out in public & spit at people that look at me, at the beginning of her AZ , I like you had no advice in why they do this ,I stop taking her out for meals in public , & when she spat it out at home or stuffing her face and getting all the food all over the place ,I just let her get on with it ,the less she saw me winding up the less she done it , I slowly showed her to eat slowly ,cut the meat up very small for her , 3 years on don’t know if it’s the medication that has improved her eating skills , or is it something that normal happen to people with Dementia.?
  3. DickG

    DickG Registered User

    Feb 26, 2006
    Hi Bid


    I am having difficulties with Mary's eating. She is not keen on any food that requires chewing which rules out meat, crunchy cereals (which she always liked) but not chocolate bicuits and chocolate wafers etc. I believe that it is a problem with texture but that does not explain why she eats biscuits etc. It is sometimes said that AD is childhood in reverse which would explain why her diet resembles that of a child.

    At the end of the day whether she has a healthy diet or not will not change her life expectancy so I just let her eat what every she wants which makes life easier for me. I always provide a good balanced diet just to see it pushed around the plate and seperated into what she will eat and what is to be thrown away, but she is still an adult,.

    Not much help I am afraid Bid, just do your best.


  4. bid

    bid Registered User

    Apr 13, 2006
    Thanks for the replies!

    One of our difficulties is that my dad has bowel problems, so what he eats can have disasterous consequences!!

  5. Tender Face

    Tender Face Account Closed

    Mar 14, 2006
    NW England
    Hi, Bid. Feel for you here. Mum has been telling everyone for months she is going to need an operation on her throat (which I think she genuinely believes in spite being told by various medics as well as me a thousand times, it seems:) , that this is not the case).

    It doesn't seem to have stopped her appetite for pies and cakes - hence I refer to Dick's message... and, Dick, surely it's not about making life easy for yourself - I don't believe that for one minute! I have spent eons making simple, healthy food look interesting and appealing for mum for her supper - only to return home and send hubby to the 'chippy' to feed the rest of us, return to mum's next morning and find she hasn't eaten a morsel.

    If I leave a 'dinky pie' and a vanilla custard, there isn't a crumb left! So I figure, if she's eating SOMETHING it's better than NOTHING. This is not about 'ducking out' or 'letting them eat cake'.... (It takes me longer to detour to her favourite bakery than to rustle up a tuna salad, say!)

    Bid, my mum has had bowel problems since the 1960s (Chron's initially). So far, and for so long, medication has allowed her to eat whatever 'diet' is appropriate to her needs... can the GP help?

    Behaviourally, I think we have to ask whether the issue is ours or not. I have been in a situation where my first reaction for my mum's 'table manners' (lack of) was embarrassment and then 'to hell and be damned, anyone who's staring.... (from another table) ....she's doing bloody well to even be here!' I resisted the urge to have to explain for what they clearly (tut-tutting) perceived as my mother's 'incompetency' (I think they thought she was drunk) - dribbling her food, etc.

    There comes a point, I guess, where if the behaviour seems 'socially unacceptable' (I hate that phrase but sorry can't think of a better one just now) where you simply have to say "this is too uncomfortable and we don't do this anymore"). Certainly I reached that stage with my dad some years ago and we simply did not 'eat out' - for all our sakes. How we all deal with these situations in our 'own homes' or behind our 'family doors' is for us to decide as appropriate to the one we love who needs the appropriate (not tut-tutting) attention... (which, of course, they may or may not realise for themselves - but if they did would be horrified about)

    Sorry, not sure that's much help, other than to say, I'm here, listening and kinda understanding..

    Love, TF
  6. Lynne

    Lynne Registered User

    Jun 3, 2005
    Reference the above, I would say give it a try (the discipline strategy). It can't do any lasting harm can it, at worst an argument, probably soon forgotten. (Although from experience I know that my Mum forgets the things I wish she'd remember, and remembers things I wish she'd forget!)

    There have been several threads about childlike behaviour and tantrums, and opinions & experience seem fairly evenly divided as to whether "they can't help it (so let them get away with it)" and "I don't stand for that, I correct him/her"
    I haven't experience of this situation myself, but I think your Dad would tolerate correction better from you than from your Mum. If it is a 'power-struggle' thing, then it's more likely to be your Mum who he is trying to get at through this sort of behaviour.

    Best wishes
  7. Michael E

    Michael E Registered User

    Apr 14, 2005
    Ronda Spain
    I come from the 'hard' side of the forum but I never chastise Monique for the things she can't help.. dropping food on the floor (never wine!!!!!) putting half masticated food she does not like on the table instead of the side of the plate - crapping in the bidet rather than he WC..... spilling coffee or coke when she tries to move them ... I sort of count all that as being the way it is - and what the hell.......

    I get defensive with mind games - emotional demands which I feel are manipulative and unreasonable... I think she tries to make me do what she wants whatever the consequences and as we are in this together for the duration when pushed to far I just tell it as it is and make it clear that if she wants me around then she has to allow me some choice..... as well

    Maybe the firmly but kindly approach is fine but I suspect any lesson learned in minute one is forgotten by minute 10... Suspect that is the main difference...

  8. connie

    connie Registered User

    Mar 7, 2004
    Michael, totally with you on this one.

    I use the approach "some you win, some you lose" but it is always worth trying.

    One day I may beat the odds. Love Connie

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