Signs of stopping eating

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by Theresalwaystomorrow, Aug 6, 2018.

  1. Theresalwaystomorrow

    Theresalwaystomorrow Registered User

    Dec 23, 2017
    What experience has other members had when pwd stops eating?
    Can it be sudden from one day to next?
  2. Tin

    Tin Registered User

    May 18, 2014
    My mother's appetite goes up and down, some days she just picks at things then pushes the plate away. Usually we get back to normal after a few days, main meal at lunch time and just a snack of something in the evening. One thing for sure, she is not eating as much as she used to this time last year.
  3. DeeBee40

    DeeBee40 New member

    Aug 5, 2018
    My mum's food issues developed gradually but then escalated rapidly leading to huge weight loss. We struggled for months trying to get her eating which was distressing for us all. Thankfully things have improved as we have been learning strategies to help.

    We realised mum can't recognise hunger or thirst anymore. She'll complain of stomach or throat pains but won't associate it with hunger or thirst.

    When asked if she wanted food or drink mum would inevitably reply no which in her mind was truth. Even mention of old favourites wouldn't tempt her.

    But we found if we skipped discussion and just prepared meals she would usually accept food placed in front of her. We kept portion sizes small so she didn't overwhelmed by amount of food.

    Mum also is much happier if we are all eating. She resented feeling we were trying to 'make her eat' or reminders she needed to gain weight. But accepted meals together as family.

    Part of mum's refusal to eat was caused by fear as she constantly complained of choking sensations. It limited foods she was willing to eat. She ruled out anything crunchy or crumbly she thought was choking risk.

    Mum's had every test available in last 6 months & digestive system examined from top to bottom. Everything got all clear which is great - except for secret hope they'll find something easily treated leadinv to huge improvement.

    Consultant says muscles used to swallow & chew are likely gradually weakening and she's producing less saliva. Which all contributes to her difficulty with eating.

    We avoid foods mum may choke on and stick with those that are easier to chew or prepared in smaller pieces. As she produces less saliva it really helps if meals come with a sauce or gravy.

    Mum's preferences have changed a lot as she definitely has weaker sense of taste. Flavours (sweet or spicy) just have to be stronger to tempt her. She was never a particular fan of curries but I now make chicken curry several times a week as she always finishes every bite.

    We're lucky that we can be at home with mum at mealtimes. If left to her own devices she wouldn't see any need to eat. Even while supported to eat regularly she will struggle to remember when she last ate.

    Her weight loss has halted and she's maintaining weight hovering at borderline of whats healthy for her. We were recommended nutrition milkshakes. Thankfully mum likes them and has 1 a day as her 'afternoon snack'.

    It's obviously dangerous to get me started off on food topic. I hope you can find some helpful points in my ramble!
  4. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    Eating can be a bit of a yo-yo, today I gave up at tea time half way through feeding my wife, she either spat it out or stopped chewing some days that happens. The nursing home records all the food people eat, how much and how often down to the last biscuit and today she had all her breakfast and lunch so I'm not too bothered, normally she eats everything.
    Another lady in there is much harder to deal with, if you try and get her to eat and she says "no" then give up as once she's said no she won't eat, put a plate of food in front of her, tell her it's "there in case you get hungry" then walk away and 90% of the time she'll eat it, put her under pressure or in the dining room and 90% of the time she'll refuse.
    Whether she doesn't like eating with other people or being pressurised I don't know, but left alone she eats make an issue of it and when she says no nothing will change her mind, at best she'll keep refusing at worse she'll throw the food back at you or across the room.
    DeeBee's right about liquids it usually takes about a litre of juice to get my wife to eat a meal, she has been seen by the SALT team recently over her swallowing issues and it's "wet" food only and even a sandwich is classed as a dry food because it needs saliva to swallow.
    Like anything else it has to be managed, you can fight a battle but you're going to lose the war to AZ so I give options, if she doesn't want to eat then OK missing a meal won't kill her and tomorrow she'll eat more to make up for it.
    Long term fortified drinks are used a lot for people who don't want to eat but will have a cold, milk based protein drink, it bungs a few calories into them.
  5. Duggies-girl

    Duggies-girl Registered User

    Sep 6, 2017
    My dad will not eat unless I put it on the plate for him. I no longer ask him what or whether he would like to eat, I just do it for him.

    Breakfast time I give dad his ensure which he drinks and half an hour later I make him a scrambled egg with butter and cream. I give it to him on a tray and he always says he is not hungry and can only eat one bite. I just say that's fine 'one bite will do' He always finishes it all. Tea time I will sometimes give him cold soup in a glass disguised as a drink and he drinks it or I may do him the tiniest shepherds pie served on a saucer with a bit of gravy, same story 'I can't eat all of that' but he does.

    As long as it is very small he will eat it but I have given up with the coaxing and cajoling as it is very wearing and as long as he eats something I am happy. I have accepted that he is never going to eat normally again.

    What is worrying though is that he has stopped drinking the ensure. He would get through on average eight shakes a day but he has now decided that they are a bit sickly and is only drinking three or four a day now. These are what have been providing him with calories up until now.

    I am substituting with decent ice cream topped up with some more cream on top as that always goes down well.

    His cholesterol will not be good but I don't know what else to do, I can't allow him to starve. As far as I am concerned any calorie is a good calorie at the moment and if he eats it then he can have it.
  6. DeeBee40

    DeeBee40 New member

    Aug 5, 2018

    What size ensure has your dad been taking @Duggies-girl ? If it's regular size you could try switching to Compact. All same nutritional levels but smaller drinks. If he's already on those maybe trying a different flavour could help?
  7. Szaitisja

    Szaitisja Registered User

    Jul 28, 2018
    Hello. Which ensure is your dad having? My friend has ensure plus and they are about a glass full but i think they're about 300 calories. Trying to find a link to post which ones i mean
  8. DeMartin

    DeMartin Registered User

    Jul 4, 2017
    You could slightly dilute the ensure with soda water, makes it lighter to drink as a lot of the booster drinks are thick.
    Make an ice cream float.
    Some boosters will freeze into a soft scoop consistency.
  9. Duggies-girl

    Duggies-girl Registered User

    Sep 6, 2017
    Ensure plus, he has been on them since Christmas, he has oesohageal cancer as well as dementia so calories are important. He just seems to have gone off them, perhaps it's the weather. I couldn't drink them I think they are disgusting but dad loved them until recently.

    @DeMartin Yes I have diluted them with milk before when he couldn't swallow, I am hoping that it is just the hot weather effecting him.
  10. Szaitisja

    Szaitisja Registered User

    Jul 28, 2018

    I couldn't drink them either. Luckily my friend likes them although it's only on a good day she will have 2, normally it's only one with lots of prompting.
    I think weather might have a bit to do with it also. I always found drinking anything sweet in hot weather was difficult, and Rose is quite happy to drink water sometimes last few days ( normally she will have it only with her tablets). usually for her if it's not sweet she won't have it.

Share This Page