1. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Hi Eustace, I`m beginning to wonder if your mother`s behaviour is a form of attention seeking we often see in young children.

    With young children, the more they refuse to eat, the more their parents worry about them, until they end up literally begging them to eat, and will allow them to have anything.

    I would now be inclined to ignore your mother [re tough love].

    Put her meal on the table, say you have done your best, eat yours, and if she doesn`t eat hers, throw it away. Then refuse to discuss food until the next meal.

    I`m not for a minute suggesting you starve her, but she wouldn`t come to any harm if you tried this for a couple of days. If you can eat it, why shouldn`t she.

    I hope you don`t think I`m being really unkind, but it`s beginning to sound a bit like emotional blackmail.

    I`m sorry if I`ve spoken out of turn. Love Sylvia x
  2. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    I have to say Eustace, I agree with Sylvia: she may have dementia, she may not be rational, but let's face it, if you continue to run yourself ragged trying to live up to her expectations, whatever they may be, you're not going to be rational either. This is really the tip of the iceberg: you're not, as she progresses, going to be able to avoid all confontations: some will involve safety. It doesn't sound as if the consultant was particularly helpful: you now have to deal with misplaced guilt regarding future "possible psychotic breaks". I say misplaced, because even if your disagreement was the trigger, if it hadn't been that it probably would have been something else, perhaps something out of your control. Let's not forget, just because someone has dementia, doesn't mean they can't be manipulative. I'm not saying it's a concious decision on her part, or that it's her fault, but you have to live with the whole package. Don't answer this if you don't want to, but has she always been as controlling as this? I ask, because, sometimes it seems as if dementia can make a person "more so" if you know what I mean: character traits that were hidden by the veneer of social convention come very much to the fore.

  3. Tender Face

    Tender Face Account Closed

    Mar 14, 2006
    NW England
    Hi Eustace

    ... and I'm absolutely behind Jennifer about not running yourself ragged.... on the food front, if I've not prepared a 'full meal' for mum I'll rustle up something really exotic like egg on toast ;) ..... if she's hungry, she'll eat it .... and often, you know, she seems to appreciate a very simple dish more than something I've 'slaved' over ... I wonder sometimes we do try so hard to please, it's not what they really want anyway and we're more down and frustrated because of the amount of effort we put in?

    Just another point on 'healthy' eating ... I noted Dick's comment about calories and have to endorse that from my experience with mum - when weight loss was the greatest concern I was told to let her eat whatever she wanted - as long as she ATE ... it also included packing in as many calories as possible - e.g. if she wanted an egg, fry it rather than boil or poach - jam on toast - spread extra butter on beneath the jam etc..... sprinkle extra sugar on anything I could ... goes completely against the grain of all we seem to have been 'taught' about healthy diets (and yes, that WAS on medical advice because her weight loss over-rode any other concern at that time) ... now she has actually gained some weight we've levelled out to something more 'balanced' ....

    Another side to that story is that mum will always do something if she thinks it's a doctor that has suggested it (not me) .....

    (Some brilliant ideas been contributed on this thread, BTW - thanks from me everyone)

    Good luck - (and I know what you mean about the smell of mince cooking!)

    Love, Karen, x
  4. Eustace

    Eustace Registered User

    Feb 11, 2007
    North Yorkshire
    I hadn't thought of her being manipulative at all, her manner has never indicated anything like that to me, she is always fairly forthright (too much sometimes) and up-front and quite independent, she just goes off and has cake and biscuits or something if I do something she doesn't want to eat.
    I have been wondering how to approach future disagreements and was hoping the anti-psychotic medication might stop other problems like that, I find most of the community mental health people to be 'not very helpful' I found this site after the CPN told me to look on here after I had asked for advice about her wandering at night so I haven't bothered asking them about how to approach other problems I have with her.
  5. Lila13

    Lila13 Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    Let her eat cake? (Well, I would have been happy if my mother had eaten enough cake, biscuits, whatever, to maintain adequate weight.)

    I do think you are going to need to draw up some boundaries for yourself as whatever you do for her, it is never going to be enough.


  6. Nell

    Nell Registered User

    Aug 9, 2005
    My grandmother and both my parents had changes in food preferences as they grew older. Things they had previously liked, they rejected. Also they all got MUCH more picky - too hot, too cold, too spicy, too bland, too "foreign' (!!), you name it!!

    I totally endorse the idea of just serving the meal, eating your's, throwing away anything not eaten, and refusing to discuss it beyond "well, you weren't hungry I guess". Sounds tough, but could help if it IS a form of manipulation.

    Mum used to tell how our beloved Czech doctor (whose English was learnt on the railways in out back Australia, so was always "colourful" to say the least!!) would tell her not too indulge us in our food fantasies as children. Her favourite saying was:
    "No more of the sing, the dance, the do the bloody theatre!" to get us to eat!!

    Best of uck with this knotty problem!! Let us know how you get on, please. Nell
  7. Lila13

    Lila13 Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    During my mother's illness we kept resurrecting old sayings from her early childhood and mine, "like it or lump it", "eat what's on your plate and be thankful", "make do and mend" etc.

    Of course she had far more choice in old age than either of us had had then, (and I'm glad she did, after all her years of scrimping and saving).

    I don't think carers should be doormats or domestic slaves, but it's hard to break those habits once formed.


  8. DeborahBlythe

    DeborahBlythe Registered User

    Dec 1, 2006
    My mum started to regain an appetite after a long time of not eating properly. During the most difficult time, she never refused tea, and she seemed to enjoy tinned chicken soup. I wonder if your mum would eat a tinned meat pie? I know this would probably count as rubbish food but there used to be little meat pies called Goblin pies that I recall living off as a student. Not sure if they still exist, but they had a quite traditional taste and were good value, also a soft texture.

    If you asked the GP for a referral to a dietician, you might get some food supplements prescribed. These include Calogen, Ensure, Build Up etc. My mum didn't like the Ensure because they were too sweet, but they come in a range of flavours including savoury and so do Build Up, which professionals have told me me, twice, are the best supplement, but which are not available on the NHS.

    It may be possible to by-pass the GP over the referral to a dietician. I managed to get one to visit without refernce to the GP but couched it in terms of a continuing care need after she moved from one area, where she had dietician visits, to another area.

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