Mom lost 6 pounds in the past two months.

Started by

I took Mom for a checkup today. She is down to 90 pounds, BMI 16.5 and blood pressure at one point was 84/50 and then 70/44. She is skipping breakfast, not even making herself coffee. She goes without food from 5pm dinner to lunch the next day at noon,(which she barely eats) and unless she eats a few spoons of yogurt or sips of ensure she starves and dehydrates (I provide snacks all the time because she doesn't know enough to go to the lunchroom to ask). The doctor is going to try Megace to increase her appetite. AL will have to administer it, and maybe they will be more aware she is not eating considering she lost all the weight on their watch.
I'm taking her to the audiologist next week. Even with new hearing aids, we have to scream to be heard. I guess we will find out then if she has just lost her comprehension, or there is something wrong with them.
I'm doing what I can, but I am so glad she is in AL now.


Maybe AL could give her Ensure every morning and as an evening snack. I don't know how their dining works at her AL, but maybe someone could help her pick more calorie-rich meals.
It's great that you're staying so involved in your mom's care.

You may want to talk to your doctor about considering an antidepressant. Mirtazapine, or Remeron, also stimulates appetite.

With those blood pressures, first, be very forthright with AL staff about postural hypotension, which is a sudden drop in BP when you stand up. It carries a significant risk for fainting and falls. I'd really put the fear of God into them about this if you can-- a fall could be pretty bad at this point.

And your doctor should be looking at a possible medical cause for the cachexia (the low weight). In terms of how you, and AL staff, deal with your mom, knowledge can be a powerful thing.

And finally, if diabetes isn't a problem-- sweets, sweets, sweets, sweets. And I'm not just talking about Ensure. McDees shakes are my favorite. But also ice cream, pudding, whipped cream. As people age, they often lose their sense of taste and prefer sweets. Calories are probably more important than nutritious kale right now. (And you can steal pudding cups too! When my dad was older, I did it all the time. Personally, if you haven't had pudding for a while, I recommend tapioca.)
Mom is already on Zoloft (as of 3 months ago) Up until then she was writing obsessive notes, getting verbally aggressive, and so negative it was awful to be with her. The Zoloft helped quite a bit, at least now she is not mean and writing the notes but it didn't help her appetite. She never gets hungry, and with her dementia I don't think she realizes she hasn't eaten. Unfortunately she has been a bad bad bad unhealthy eater (and never drank enough) from the time she was in her 20's, so this is nothing new. 70+ years ago, after my sister was born, she lived on coffee and little else until she was so anemic she collapsed and almost died. She has passed out several times from dehydration. Now it matters more because she is so old and the weaker she is, the more chance of falling. I stock her refrigerator with ensure, pudding, cheese, yogurt, cookies, milk, and cereal. She has always been a sweets eater, and she would eat nothing else if allowed. For four years in IL she existed on yogurt, ensure and soup broth and sweets.
I think the AL got a wakeup call with a 6 pound weight loss in only a few months and hopefully they realize they should be checking on her more in the morning to be sure she eats something and making sure she doesn't put her lunch in her purse and hide it. She is only allowed to miss one meal a day, but not eating in the morning (because she says she doesn't feel good to go to breakfast) is unhealthy because it means she is 19 hours without food or drink. She lies and says she has eaten but in truth, all she would eat is 2 spoons of yogurt and a couple sips of ensure and that's if she remembers to eat at all. She tells me she has eaten cereal, but the box is unopened and so is the milk a week later.
At almost 101, the doctor said although we can't make her change, if we can get her to eat a little more it will improve her quality of life, she will feel better and she won't be so weak.
I have read that sometimes seniors and those with certain illnesses, they may lose weight, even if they eat enough calories. Eventually, the body is not able to utilize the food. It sounds like her doctor is more concerned with keeping her comfortable.

My loved one has lost 10 pounds in 2 months, but she eats fine. I asked doctor about it, and he was not concerned. She's in a wheelchair, but has enough energy to propel herself around.

Does your mom get up down unassisted? I couldn't tell if she is in Assisted Living. She has her own fridge? With my cousin's AL they would insist that all residents go to the dining room for 3 meals per day. The meal is placed in front of the resident and they can eat or not. Snacks are brought to their room or wherever they are in the facility.
Mom is in AL. She has a refrigerator and a microwave. The AL rule is that they cannot miss more than one meal a day, and Mom always misses breakfast. If she doesn't show for other meals, they go up and get her but they can't make her eat. Her friend says she barely eats the other two meals. Even when she was in IL, or when we took her to lunch, she always ordered 1/2 sandwich and a cup of soup and would eat maybe 1/4 of the sandwich and hide the rest in her purse, she would drink the broth off the soup and leave every bit of the solids. She would take two sips of coffee and leave the rest. Now, I don't think she eats much in the morning, even if it is in the fridge. The beautician told me last week she ate two packets of sugar while she was sitting in the chair.
Yes, she is mobile, gets around with a cane, dresses herself, etc.
The doctor just wants to keep her comfortable. The way she is now, perhaps its better if she just stops eating and continues to fade away as I hear it is natural for seniors to do that and its painless. She is miserably unhappy, confused, weak, almost deaf and her dementia is progressing quickly. I hate to see her suffer mentally.
Oh, I see. It sure is sad that she is unhappy. Keeping her comfortable and content is certainly reasonable. I wish they could fine a medication that would help her.

I hate to keep repeating myself about Cymbalta, but that med really helped my cousin. Without it, she is nervous, worried and distraught. She has just gone back on it and I hope works this time. When she was on it previously, she was so content. She seemed satisfied with her daily activities and always had a smile on her face.

Why not discuss a med that could make her more content? Depression can cause weight loss. It's amazing that she is able to live so independently with dementia and her advanced age.
Oh, with the dementia and advanced age, I wouldn't rely on her being able to retrieve her own food. They often forget their food inside a container if they can't see it. They also forget what they like and don't like.

I have a link that I would like to provide you for an article written my doctor on those caring for dementia patients. I'll have to make sure it's okay to post it first though. I'll return and post the link if it's okay.
I found out that I can post an .org site. So here it is. I found it very helpful. It's rather long, but has so much information about dementia patients and their care.

You can make your own decisions, but it offers information that may be helpful.

My sweetheart has lost 20# in a month. The doctor does not seem worried but I am. He is on limited drugs due to them trying to find out what drugs are giving him the rash (6 months now). Poor baby. It was so itchy in the beginning it was enough to drive him nuts. I put a dermatologist prescription on his entire body morning and night with lotion over it. I am exhausted. Today even with just the anti depressant pill and his parkinson drug, he is sleeping his life away. I truly think he is going. But, he does not have the signs that my husband did before he died. Maybe some people do just go to sleep and never wake up. I would deeply miss him, but the life he has now is so sad. I am the only thing that makes him happy. This morning he asked me...Do you REALLY love me? Of course I do I said. He has a minor temp about 98.5. Why? What is causing the temp to rise. He has no infection that I am aware of. I feel so sorry for him. My pastors wife came by today and said I had to get some rest. She lives 30 miles away or I know she would be here to help me. I have not been able to go to church. Tomorrow they are coming to give us communion. I requested it. I just feel, my sweetie is struggling to live.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

Please enter your Comment

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support