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Weight loss


Registered User
Oct 25, 2019
My mum is now 84 years old and how she keeps going is beyond me. Her care home have just started visiting in a converted garden bedroom with gauntlet type gloves to allow visitors to hold the hand of their loved one. I was sceptical about whether mum would be able to understand what was happening but in the end I decided to give it a go. I don’t know who was more upset, me or her. She has lost a huge amount of weight in the past few months, her hair is long (covid restrictions), but most distressing is her demeanour- she looks absolutely tormented. She kept trying to get away from me, biting the gloves. She has no recognisable speech, just a screech every now and then. All told she has lost three stones since going into the home, two stones in the past 9 months or so. Staff tell me she is still eating and drinking. Sorry for the long post, I’m just feeling very anxious after seeing Mum yesterday. I’m praying for a vaccine and rapid testing so that I can visit properly before much longer. Is anybody else in this situation?


Volunteer Host
Apr 1, 2016
I’m not in this situation and there were no Covid restrictions when my mum was as yours is now. I remember how distressed I was to see her like that. I can only imagine how it must feel to be unable to visit properly and I hope you manage to get one soon.


Volunteer Moderator
May 9, 2012
south-east London
I am not in this situation either but just wanted to offer my sympathy and support. My husband lost a great deal of weight when he was in hospital for a few months and it was an incredibly stressful time to witness. I was able to visit as much as I wanted and I can barely imagine how I would have coped with these current restrictions.

I share your greatest hope that things will soon reach a stage where you, and others in your situation, will be able to visit in a more normal way.


Registered User
Mar 25, 2016
Hello @PammyT My Mum's in a care home and although I've been able to visit her on and off for a while now a socially distanced visit wearing PPE is not the same as being able to give her a hug. The first visit I had after more than 3 months without seeing Mum was, similar to your visit, distressing. Mum had lost weight, her speech had reduced and with her uncut hair she didn't look good, plus her toenails had gone so long without being cut she had developed an infection in her foot. Mum didn't recognise me at all, and the face mask and social distancing obviously didn't help. It's not surprising that your mum was biting the gloves as the situation must have been so frightening for her. Things did get better after my first visit as I then knew what to expect so it wasn't such a shock, and Mum also seemed to start recognising my voice again. Hopefully your next visit may be a little better but if it causes your Mum further distress then I'd suggest that you speak to the care home manager to request an individual risk assessment to see what can be done to reduce her distress during visits. They will hopefully be able to consider other options apart from expecting her to put her hands into gauntlets. Like you I am hoping that the vaccine/rapid testing appear soon so that visits can return to some sort of normality, hopefully before Christmas, to prevent further deterioration to Mum.

Just me

Registered User
Nov 17, 2013
I’m not in this situation @PammyT but I know how distressing it is to see a loved one who has deteriorated so much so quickly and you have my sympathy.
I think @Louise7 has good suggestion of asking for an individual risk assessment if the next visit is similar.


Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
My mother is s bit similar. She is mostly unintelligible due to dysphasia, and although there are no gloves, the perspex screen is a barrier to conversation. She has gone downhill to some extent but the staff have succeeded in getting her to eat a little bit and stabilise her weight. But I have to recognise that old age doesn't go backwards and people don't go into care homes to get better and come home.


Registered User
May 24, 2015
Hello @PammyT, similar situation, mum is in a care home and like yours has lost weight and seems to have deteriorated greatly during lockdown and restricted visiting. My mum was always particular about her appearance and her hair looks terrible to the point she asked me if my dad doesn’t visit because she looks so terrible! Obviously we cannot visit freely and have a 20 minute visit once per week in the last two weeks, better than some homes but not the daily visits we used to do!
It is distressing and although the Carers are lovely, I do think things like maintaining someone’s dignity has been forgotten in the madness of Covid. You should write to the Care Home Manager and insist on an individual risk assessment. Too many homes are applying a blanket approach which is not appropriate. Me and my sister were only saying today we’re amazed mum has survived two outbreaks at her home and at 86 with complex diabetes, is doing well all things considered! Hope your next visit is less distressing for you both and hopefully we can all once again spend quality time with our loved one’s.


Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
The trouble with individual risk assessment in a care home is that risk is in a way shared between residents. It is so very hard to prevent spread within a home that a CH manager must consider the risks of harm to other residents as well as the individual. This is required under health and safety law. It is a very difficult balance to draw as isolation poses risks to residents from not having visits. At long last there may be a way to square this via rapid testing, on the horizon.

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