Weight loss.

Jane1

Registered User
Mar 3, 2007
54
Leicestershire
Can you tell me your experience on weight loss and dementia. Dad is losing weight but is still eating well. Not because he remembers but gets weighted on hand and foot :) ! He's developed a very sweet tooth and my guess is there's a connection to his illness. He still enjoys his food, mostly but seems to be getting more gaunt by the day! :(
 

DeborahBlythe

Registered User
Dec 1, 2006
9,222
Jane, there can be a weight loss associatied with dementia but I think it is usually caused by loss of appetite. In my mum's case she had a couple of bladder infections and then she lost her appetite ina big way for almost a year. Recently she has regained her appetite, but still needs to have her food intake monitored and supplemented. If your dad maintains a good appetite then it seems strange that he should be looking gaunt.
Can you speak to his GP and ask if he needs observation/ tests?
Is your dad in a care home? Do you ever attend at mealtimes to see what is going on? It may be that his diet is not very balanced despite the apparent 'good intake', but I would still want to have a word with the GP.
 

Jane1

Registered User
Mar 3, 2007
54
Leicestershire
In reply, no he isn't in a care home, he's still at home and mum or I/ my sister get his food for him. The other note was that it hasn't been that long since he had blood tests and prostrate tests.
 

DeborahBlythe

Registered User
Dec 1, 2006
9,222
Sorry, just seen your thread about driving and understand he is at home. Nevertheless, it may be an unbalanced diet that is at the root of things, or it may be something else going on. A simple blood test might help eliminate a few worries.
 

Brucie

Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
12,413
near London
My Jan lost lots of weight when I was looking after her at home, because I regulated the food i made according to what she wanted to eat. The amount reduced over time, and i didn't spot it [despite the fact that i was losing weight too because I made the reducing amount of food for two.]

Since she has been at her home, the staff have to feed her and they make sure she eats a lot - and she has put back on a lot of weight [still a size 12 mind!]

When I am there mealtimes and feed her, i never get her eating as much as do the staff. I hate watching them shovel food into her, although I know it is good food, and for the best. One of those things I find hardest to bear.

Jan has picked up a sweet tooth too, since being at the home.
 

jenniferpa

Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
39,448
I do think that people can develop a sweet tooth simply because they are elderly: sweet and salty are the taste buds that seem to last the longest. It is also my opinion, based on nothing more than observation, that as people age they do seem to become less efficient at metabolising the food that they eat. How many really large, really elderly do you see? Now I always thought that that was probably because increased weight causes other health problems, and therefore, these people weren't reaching a great age, and I'm sure that's part of it. However, having been hanging around nursing homes more and more, I think there's something more going on: I see people tucking into quantities of food that would have me waddling, and yet they are still losing weight.

Just an observation, not much help to you I'm afraid.

Jennifer
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
71,070
Kent
Funny you should say that Jennifer. Why do my husband and I eat pretty much the same, yet I`m piling it on, whilst he is staying the same. ;)
 

Sandy

Registered User
Mar 23, 2005
6,847
Hi Jane1,

There does seem to be a link between dementia and weight-loss, both before and after symptoms of dementia appear. Although this link has been identified, the root cause or causes have not yet been identified:

http://www.seniorjournal.com/NEWS/Alzheimers/6-09-11-StudyFindsFurther.htm

There are lots of examples on Talking Point of people with dementia preferring sweet foods. This has been the subject of some scientific studies (for example this paper from 1990 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=2212455&dopt=Abstract ), but I don't know what current thinking is regarding the underlying cause.

At least you know that these types of changes aren't unkown in Dementia World.

Take care,

Sandy
 

Sunlight

Registered User
Feb 12, 2007
55
My mother has a very good appetite and I buy her cream buns, dognuts, apple pies bars of chocolate etc and she scoffs the lot! She loves going out for her lunch (and always has her chocolate fudge cake for desert) and I normally take her out every week. She has managed to put on some weight but she is still skin and bones - not that she was ever a big woman.
 

hawaii50

Registered User
Hi Jane1
I think I mentioned in another thread recently that my mum has lost about 2lbs per month for the last three years. Originally she wasn't eating after my dad died three years ago, but for the past year she eats everything you put down to her - she also loves chocolate, cakes etc (always has though) We eat much the same and I put weight on and she takes it off.
I read in a book in the States that AD sufferers can burn in excess of 4000 calories a day - so if they are agitated, "busying" and talk a lot that may account for lots of the excess calorie burning!!! I know my mum is one of the active AD types. She was almost 11 stone when my dad died three years ago and is now under 8 stone - she was diagnosed with AD almost three years ago but it was obvious for at least three years before that as well.
I'm sorry I can't remember the book to give you as a reference as I have read so many on the subject!
 

Splat88

Registered User
Jul 13, 2005
176
Essex
I was told by the consultant that I needn't worry about Mary's habit of having dinner with her salt ( I wasn't sure at first if she'd just forgotten she had already put salt on her food, or if it was intentional. ) as taste buds deteriorate with age and salt is a prominent flavour. Mary salts her food all the way through eating, so much so that there is a layer of salt on the plate at the end!!! And I'm not a healthy person who leaves salt out of cooking, either!! I was worried as she isn't meant to have salt because of her blood pressure.

I expect sweet is another strong flavour, but I also think a lot if it is down to ease of eating, ie it's easier to snack on sweets and biscuits than eat decent food. I've given up making meals a battleground, she eats what she feels like. I can't explain why just lately the amount of potato ( mash, boiled or roast) she will eat is rapidly diminishing, although she will still demolish a plate full of chips! I think the recent habit of cutting her food up at the beginning, and then eating with her fingers goes a way to explaining that, it's not so easy to eat mash that way!!!!

Since moving in with us 4 years ago, she has put on weight, but she still refers to berself as being skinny even though she has trouble buttoning her dresses over her belly!!!

A physio friend once told me that using a knife and fork becomes too much for motor skills, the knife being the first to go.
 

Noone

Registered User
Mar 12, 2007
36
Surrey
My lady hasnt lost her appetite, in fact she eats more than me, but weighs less!!! Although she does have a bit of a pot belly...but thats mainly due to the fact she does absolutely nothing all day.
 

nicetotalk

Registered User
Sep 22, 2006
155
stretford
Hi

Iam sure in some cases it might be due to loss of appitite but i was told that the more dementia progresses their bodys can no longer absorbe nutrients it starts to slow down. My my dad gave my mum 3 good meals a day she had no problem eating them in the last say year of her life her weight slowly started to come of. The last couple of months she was like a skeleton and i mean a skeleton she was only 5 foot in height, iam sure there are many reasons but i do think it has to do with the illness itself maybe not in all cases but thats just my knoledge regarding my mums weight.

thanx
 

Ashburton

Registered User
Feb 19, 2007
99
Brucie said:
My Jan lost lots of weight when I was looking after her at home, because I regulated the food i made according to what she wanted to eat. The amount reduced over time, and i didn't spot it [despite the fact that i was losing weight too because I made the reducing amount of food for two.]

Since she has been at her home, the staff have to feed her and they make sure she eats a lot - and she has put back on a lot of weight [still a size 12 mind!]

When I am there mealtimes and feed her, i never get her eating as much as do the staff. I hate watching them shovel food into her, although I know it is good food, and for the best. One of those things I find hardest to bear.

Jan has picked up a sweet tooth too, since being at the home.

The whole food thing is a problem I am starting to encounter now. Foods my mum enjoyed before, my mum will not eat now, I wish I could get her to eat veg and chicken and other meats but she won't, she will just leave it on the plate, so now I give her what she will eat, thankfully she still eats fresh salmon, tuna,loves cheese, chips, will eat fruit and wholemeal bread and soup. Also has also developed a sweet tooth.