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.

Skin and bones, is this normal?

Discussion in 'Younger people with dementia and their carers' started by jc141265, Sep 20, 2005.

  1. jc141265

    jc141265 Registered User

    Sep 16, 2005
    836
    Australia
    #1 jc141265, Sep 20, 2005
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2008
    I thought of this query when reading Brucie's post on http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/talkingpoint/discuss/showthread.php?goto=newpost&t=2083

    Brucie said that his wife eats more than him even now. My Dad too eats like a horse and yet he looks like a prisoner of war. I've been delighted the last week because after plying him with all sorts of extra foods, sausages and biscuits and lollies he's been reported to have put on some weight, and I can finally feel some flesh over his rib bones, although not much.

    At the home he lives in we are also fortunate in that they quite happily give him double serves of all the meals, if we ask or good staff are on. Even so, and despite my efforts he is scarily skinny.

    Can anyone tell me, is this part of the disease, or is it the medication or is it just peculiar to Dad? Or was he not fed enough when he lived at home? Anyone have a normal weight alzheimers sufferer they know of? Dad's metabolism seems to have gone through the roof or he doesn't absorb the food he gets. There appears to be both fat and thin people in his dementia ward, but maybe their not at his stage?? Questions, questions, questions....
     
  2. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    Jan's weight dropped greatly during the last year I was caring for her at home - as did mine. At that time she was eating very little.

    When she went into the home she was under 7 stones.

    Since then, with the care they give her, and the really excellent food, she has put on a little - enough for her not to look emaciated.

    But she is still very thin, and her body has changed shape dreadfully - her back has twisted, her hands are becoming more claw-like.

    In my experience, almost all the people I have seen in Jan's home have lost substantial amounts of weight. Men lose it more quickly than do the women.
     
  3. rummy

    rummy Registered User

    Jul 15, 2005
    700
    Oklahoma,USA
    My Mom weighs only 90 lbs, which is up a little from the 88 she weighed last year. She has always been an obsessive healthy eatter, very fit. But she had stomach surgery when she was 50 for a bleeding ulcer and can't process food well. Now she eats frozen dinners and potato chips. I'll take over a healthy meal and they will stick it in the freezer and never eat it. She is just skin and bone without an ounce of fat on her. Refuses to take the Ensure type drinks as they make her sick.
    Debbie
     
  4. bernie

    bernie Registered User

    Jul 28, 2005
    52
    south london
    My mum is losing weight. I put it down to the alzheimer's. Now I have discovered that she has got bowel cancer. My suggestion get a doctor to have a look.
     
  5. freefairy

    freefairy Registered User

    Nov 2, 2004
    31
    Colchester
    My dad too has lost quite a bit of weight, he looks terrible to be honest, my mum who is dads care giver has lost loads too so i'm starting to take round the odd meal here and there so she keeps well.
    Sheryl
     
  6. Sandy

    Sandy Registered User

    Mar 23, 2005
    6,847
    Hi All,

    There has been some research in the news lately which appears to show a correlation between weight loss in elderly people and an eventual diagnosis of AD. It appears that the pattern of weight loss begins much earlier than the signs of memory loss are detected.

    The actual mechanism for this weight loss has not yet been determined, but will probably be the focus of further research.

    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medicalnews.php?newsid=31240

    Take care,

    Sandy
     
  7. Norman

    Norman Registered User

    Oct 9, 2003
    4,348
    Birmingham Hades
    Hi
    weight loss,every case is different,some gain weight.
    I can only say what I see and from personal experience.
    I thought it was 7 years since my wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease,but our CPN says it is longer and will check the records.
    She came to see us this morning and commented how much weight Peg has lost since her last visit.
    Will have to visit the GP
    Norman
     
  8. Leah

    Leah Registered User

    Oct 22, 2004
    31
    Northumberland
    Hi Norman
    When Ted was having touble swallowing his CPN got a Speach and Language therapist to come and see him. She made several suggestions that were quite helpful but also arranged for a Nutritionalist to visit and she was very good and prescribled several things. Unfortunately it was too little to late for us, but if you got those kind of things now they may help. (They were added to his food and I think one of them was called something like Calogen)
    Take Care
     
  9. Ruthie

    Ruthie Registered User

    Jul 9, 2003
    114
    South Coast
    My husband was 6'3" tall and well built before the AD set in ten years ago. He is now in an NHS unit, and eats well (the nurses delight in telling me how he nearly always has second helpings of main course and dessert, and if I am there during mealtimes I can see that he is eating well) but he has lost a tremendous amount of weight and now looks quite emaciated. He now walks (well, shuffles) with a stoop and he now has developed bad back problems which clearly cause him considerable pain, although he is now unable to express it except by his body language. He has recently been started on morphine to alleviate the pain, as paracetamol and Co-codamol were no help.

    I often visit him accompanied by his identical twin brother, and it is very distressing to see the difference between them now - my husband's arms are about half the diameter of his brother's, and my husband now looks about 6 inches shorter. His face is looking quite skeletal at times compared with his brother.

    I can't remember whether he was losing weight prior to the disease making its present felt, although he certainly weighed less than when I first met him over 30 years ago, despite always having a good diet and a very healthy appetite.
     
  10. 1234

    1234 Registered User

    Sep 21, 2005
    43
    bradford
    you make me giggle

    Nat, when i saw the Ian Drury title it made me really laugh, something i do not do enough of these days, new that this post had to be yours, keep up with the prolific messages,seems strange that when iam feeling like i just wont to scream 10 mins on here and sanity returns (well I have always been a bit odd to say the least), You would think for relaxation It would be better to think about something entirely different, but reading everyones news ,just makes you not feel so alone and that you are experiening similar emotions, which as goodas friends have been and the have been great,unless you are living with this horrible disease which makes you feel like you are living with a complete stranger, here i go whinging on again , i really meant to be light hearted. Regarding your fathers appetite, Trevs eating habits have totally changed since becoming a Ad sufferer, he used to only eat very healthy food now we have a larder full of rubbish & a freezer full of every ice cream on the market, and he guards them all very carefully, just not trev's nature, Has any one eles noticed this extreme change in diet. Have just been out for a meal which i said i would never put myself through again, but it has been ok ,discrete corner . and trevs smiles made it worthwhile, think he forgot his worries for a while, though my anxiety levels where off the scale, could not find trevs green trousers which he insisted on wearing, turned out he meant blue suede shoes ( song title again), thats all my ramblings for tonight folks, but thanks for being there
    Pam
     

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