1. rudolph

    rudolph Registered User

    Feb 19, 2007
    Hi there,

    I'm new to this forum but I was wondering if anybody can help me? My mother is 54 and is in the late stages of AD. I live away from home and don't get to see her very ofter. When I saw her a few days ago, she had lost a lot of weight. My sister says that she (my mother) has been eating really well but losing weight anyway. Anything I've read about this suggests that death probably isn't too far away, but it's difficult to find anything conclusive. I know it's not a pleasant topic but I was wondering if anybody has had experience with this. I guess I just want to prepare myself as far as possible.
  2. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Hi rudolph, and welcome to Tp.

    I`m sorry I`ve no explanation for your mother`s weightloss, but someone else on TP may have experienced it and, if so, will be able to be of more help.

    I`m just so shocked that at only 54, your mother is in the later stages of Alzheimers. That is cruel.

    I wish you well. Love Sylvia x
  3. rudolph

    rudolph Registered User

    Feb 19, 2007
    Thank you and sorry

    Thanks for your kind words Sylvia. I've just been reading over what I wrote and it sounds a bit abrupt. I hope I haven't offended anybody. I just feel so clinical and detached sometimes - it's easier to accept and to talk about if I think about my mother as just an Alzheimer's sufferer. And, of course, she's not. She's a whole person who had, and probably still has, hopes and plans and ideas. I haven't really talked about this with anybody, despite my mother being diagnosed about 7 years ago. Most of my friends don't know (not because I'm ashamed but because I find it difficult to talk about) and I don't think my partner really understands, though he is very supportive. I live away from home and so don't see my family very often. Having read through other parts of this forum it's clear that my experiences are far from unique and that does actually make me feel better. I suppose this is in the wrong place in the forum really - my mother is still alive and I'm thankful for that. I was vaguely hoping that somebody who had already lost might be able to tell me what to look for near the end so that I'm ready. It's nonsense, of course, because everybody's different and I don't think anyone can ever truly be ready for a loved one dying. I'm sorry that this all seems so garbled. As I said, I don't talk about this much - it just seems to be spilling out now!
  4. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    near London
    A Brucie story.

    I'm - even if I do say so myself - a good cook.

    Over the many years my wife and I were together, we shared the cooking but, as her dementia developed, I took it over more and more until, when she was last living at home, I did it all.

    We always shared everything 50/50 and so, as her appetite became very picky, and she would not eat normal amounts - I simply reduced the amount I cooked and still doled it out 50/50.

    This resulted in my weight dropping as well as Jan's.

    By the time she went into her care home, she was under 5 stones and really looked emaciated. I should add this was after she had spent 5 months in an NHS assessment centre, so had specialist care there with eating.

    At the time I reckoned she could not last long at such a weight.

    However, 6 years on, she eats like a horse [more than I do] and she has put on weight. Her body is still very small compared to what it once was, but her face is quite normal.

    I've never managed to put back the weight that I lost!

    Moral of this is not to believe that a person is in the later stages by their physical appearance. The general condition of their health, their symptoms of dementia - these will determine that.
  5. rudolph

    rudolph Registered User

    Feb 19, 2007
    Thanks Bruce - your wife is lucky to have someone like you! There can't be too many men out there willing to sacrifice their food for any reason! Unfortunately, my mother is quite advanced with AD - she can't walk unaided, has difficulty sitting up herself, is incontinent and struggles a lot with speech, though she remembers all her children (I have six siblings!) even if she doesn't always put the right name to the face. I got a bit of a fright when I saw her last week - I don't make it home often - and that prompted all my concerns. Probably a lot of it is unfounded. Maybe she does need a spell of good food to pick her up a bit; I don't think my Dad is ever likely to win Masterchef!
  6. BeckyJan

    BeckyJan Registered User

    Nov 28, 2005
    Rudolf - I cannot help regarding the weight loss as I have the opposite problem with my husband (eating too well and too heavy). I also feel very sad that someone so young should be so ill.

    I just wanted to say how right you are to 'spill it all out' - here on tp it really does not matter if you want to let go with your thoughts and feelings. Most of us have been there or totally understand the need to 'talk'.
    Best wishes Beckyjan
  7. Amy

    Amy Registered User

    Jan 4, 2006
    Hiya Rudolph,
    My mum has lost a lot of weight, despite eating very well - I think that the brain is affected in such a way that the body does not absorb from the food what it needs. At the moment mum has stabilised at just over 6 stone - her legs and arms are painfully thin. Does your dad get any food supplements for mum? Might help.
    Love Helen
  8. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    On reflection, something must happen to change the metabolism when a person has dementia.
    My husband eats more than ever because he forgets he has eaten and always seems to be hungry.
    He isn`t losing weight yet, but he isn`t gaining any either. That is surprising because he is far less active than he was too.
  9. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    My mother's problem is slightly different: every so often she sal "this tastes rancid" and from that point on everything tastes funny, so of course, she doesn't eat. I have always assumed it was something to do with the stroke damage, since I believe that a sign of an incipient (or maybe it's a just occured) stoke can be thinking you smell burning.
  10. mel

    mel Registered User

    Apr 30, 2006
    I've heard that too Jennifer......I also found when mum's blood sugar level drops this affected tast too
  11. nicetotalk

    nicetotalk Registered User

    Sep 22, 2006
    Hi rudolph

    My mum was like a human skeleton when she was addmited in hospital last year, my dad fed her three good meals aday and her weight just went down week after week. I think the hospital thought my dad had not been feeding her, we will feed her up they said well no matter what they did she never put an ounce on.
  12. soulsmilin

    soulsmilin Registered User

    Feb 13, 2007
    Tyne and wear
    If the weight loss is unintentional and more than 10% in the last 3-6mths, then suplimental drinks such as ensure or build up can be used, you should talk to the gp and a dietian should come out for an assesment/ or hospital visit, in the mean time you can buy these and if an adequate meal has not been eaten given one as well, boots, superdrug any such place should have, also milky drinks and snacks to encourage appetite, eat whatever you fancy.

    Also watch out for bed sores if malnutritioned.

    good luck
  13. rudolph

    rudolph Registered User

    Feb 19, 2007
    Thank you for all your comments and shared experiences. It has really helped me a lot. I'll try with the supplements and see if that helps and will let you know how it goes. My poor mother - she spent so much of her life trying to lose weight and now I'm going to help her gain some!
  14. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Oh Dear Rudolph, I know just what you mean. my mother dieted all her life and lost weight drastically, just like your mother. I just wish she`d had the understanding, at the time, to appreciate the irony.

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