My 93 year old mom with some dementia, is hungry all the time.

Started by

She is up every 1-2 hours raiding the fridge. She only weighs 114 lbs. She can't be hungry. Could something in her brain be making her think she is hungry. I'm not exaggerating when I say 1-2 hrs. Even we hear her banging around. I dont care about the food, but she poops constantly and that is another story. This demensia attitude has just really come in to play Fter they put her on pain meda.


Could it be the pain medicine that is giving her this urge to eat? Have you discussed this with her doctor?
It could be related to her medication so it would be wise to check this out with her medical practitioner. In my opinion, it is likely to be related to her dementia. This sums up my father-in-law very well. He would eat the fridge bare - if we allowed it.

There are two things to consider with this behavior - primarily is it likely to affect her health and the secondary factor being is it sustainable from a financial point of view?

From a health perspective, you should seek medical advice. However, I'd guess that she is metabolizing the food at a very fast rate thus she is not putting on much weight. The type of food is important too because high sugar, for example, may give problems whereas high-fibre may well be passed through. A medical view is critical here.

If the medical advice is that the eating is not a problem (and if it is not a financial issue) then they may be able to suggest appropriate 'snack' foods which might - or might not - be fibre-based.

But if the eating needs to be managed, then you may need to find ways to do this. With my father-in-law, we take his meals in to him and restrict his access to snack foods. This limits what he can get. We do not, for example, leave him with bread - only butter. When it is time for lunch (eg.) we take over some bread. This is often handled with 'yes, you've run out of bread, we'll have to buy you some but here's some of ours in the meantime'. It works, time and time again.

In some cases, snacking is actually a symptom of a different problem. She might simply be bored - distracting her might work well but providing her with engaging activities in-home or at special activity groups may focus her on other pursuits. Eating, for all of us, is often just lower-order-need satisfaction and a symptom of boredom, anxiety, frustration etc.

I got pretty excited when I saw this question, and I was hoping to get some answers myself. My dad eats constantly, and in huge quantities, without ever gaining weight. He eats like he needs to grab as much as he can, like the food will run out. He's constantly in the kitchen with fist-fulls of whatever it is he can grab. It amazes me that he doesn't put on an ounce. He'll eat leftovers before they can be put away. He eats dish after dish of ice cream at night, not realizing, I think, that he's already had some? At dinner, he always makes sure to serve himself fist, taking however much he wants, leaving the bare minimum for anyone else. He had no regard that he might be shorting my mother or anyone else there. He eats like a machine, totally focused on every bite, not socializing at all, not that he can hear anything anyway, just focused on eating so that he can finish and maybe eat more. Its so odd.
golf, I've noticed that my since my mother-in-law doesn't remember eating lunch when we go out, she's wanting to eat again. Apparently she doesn't feel full anymore and thinks it's time to eat again. She also can't identify smells and flavors much anymore either I've noticed. Can you put a bag of dry roasted peanuts or cashews etc next to your moms bed that she can pop in her mouth if she gets hungry in the middle of the night? Maybe if she had some snacks at her disposal that were high in protein laying around for her, that might help. Eating sugary stuff just makes a person more hungry.

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