1. Expert Q&A: Living well as a carer - Thurs 29 August, 3-4pm

    As a carer for a person living with dementia, the needs of the person you care for will often come before your own. You may experience a range of difficult emotions and you may not have the time to do all the things you need to do. Caring can have a big impact on both your mental and physical health, as well as your overall wellbeing.

    Angelo, our Knowledge Officer (Wellbeing) is our expert on this topic. He will be here to answer your questions on Thursday 29 August between 3-4pm.

    You can either post questions >here< or email them to us at talkingpoint@alzheimers.org.uk and we'll answer as many as we can on the day.

Refusing to eat and drink or take medication

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by AW1938, Mar 26, 2019.

  1. AW1938

    AW1938 Registered User

    Feb 11, 2017
    It has been a wile since I posted. My mum has alzheimers and has been in a care home since Jan 17. Over the past 2 /3 months mum has almost stopped eating, apart from the odd biscuit or chocolate. Mum has also started refusing her meds - we can't hide them in her food as she isn't really eating any! Obviously she is now losing weight and is very frail and unsteady.
    What can be done?Has anyone else been through this? Mum is described by her gp as having advanced alzheimers.

    I suspect the end is coming but how do you know?
    Any advice would be great. Thanks
  2. karaokePete

    karaokePete Registered User

    Jul 23, 2017
    N Ireland
    I don't have personal experience of this but have seen suggestions that fortified drinks can be used for nourishment and it's possible to get alternative types for many meds, such as liquids or patches.

    It may be worth chatting to the GP or a local pharmacist.
  3. AW1938

    AW1938 Registered User

    Feb 11, 2017
    Thanks for your reply. The problem is she won't accept fortified drinks or milkshakes the home make for her. We are speaking to the gp tomorrow about liquid meds.
  4. chickenlady

    chickenlady Registered User

    Feb 28, 2016
    Unfortunately this is how many Alzheimer's sufferers die because they give up eating and drinking. My father went down hill and died very quickly after stopping eating, we were initially able to tempt him with ice cream and therefore ground his medicines down to put into his ice cream but eventually he went to just drinking squash then nothing. It may seem callous but I was relieved when I realised that the end of his suffering was near and he eventually died very peacefully in the night. I wish you well, take care.
  5. AW1938

    AW1938 Registered User

    Feb 11, 2017
    Thank you. I feel the same, I hope her suffering is over soon. The gp came today and has said the careers must offer food drink and meds 3 times but if she refuses to leave it.
  6. Spamar

    Spamar Registered User

    Oct 5, 2013
    I think people stop eating and drinking because they are dying, not the other way round.
  7. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    #7 Grannie G, Mar 28, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2019
    Hello @AW1938

    It`s possible your mum`s body may be shutting down if she is refusing everything. It`s also possible she doesn`t know the difference between food and her meds.

    I think the GP has given the best advice under the circumstances. Offer your mum what is needed to sustain her but allow her to accept or refuse.

    I know how painful it is to think someone is slowly starving. When my husband was at this stage I tried to remember how I hated being encouraged to eat when I have been ill and had no appetite.
  8. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    When PWDs are at the end of life they stop eating and drinking because their body is slowly shutting down and they cant process the food/fluid.
    Sometimes, though, they rally, so it is important to offer food. If they refuse it, though, please dont feel that they are starving to death - it is because the end off life process has already started.
  9. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    SW London
    More than once in my mother's (very good) dementia care home I saw residents being endlessly coaxed and badgered to eat and drink when they no longer wanted to. I know it was done with the best of intentions - duty of care and all that - but it could be so painful to see the person crying or whimpering and repeatedly turning their head away.
    Personally, I think that once someone is late stage, while offering food and drink is one thing, they should not be pestered like this.
    I made up my mind that I would not allow it with my poor mother, but fortunately the question never arose.
  10. Pouli

    Pouli Registered User

    Feb 9, 2019
    My husband wouldn't take anything in his last few days. He seemed to have lost his swallow. It must be terrifying to have food shoved in when you know you can't swallow it.. It's best to let nature take it's course. You are not starving your loved one.

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