My husband has Alzheimer’s and doesn’t want to eat. Should I force him to eat??

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Dear Reba,
I was a Hospice nurse for ten years and can only support you in everything you are doing.
The body knows what it is doing and for the information of others. People do not deliberately starve themselves to death.
If you can keep the mouth clean and moist. Dentures should be well fitting, in or out don't make a fight of it. Quality not quantity is most import in the last stage of life. Leave a little snack of a favorite food at the bedside or chairside, something dry and unwrapped so it's easy to reach.
As far as bathing and hygiene are concerned no one needs to bathe every day so if your loved one resists get help and force it once a week if that does not cause obvious distress, otherwise sneak it in. For example a back rub can be very relaxing , but before you start that massage a good wash down of that area can be snuck in. To shave or not to shave does it really matter, yes if Santa Clause is rubbing his food in it and you find maggots! The one area that must have regular attention is the genital area which is especially important if there is any incontinence. Never mind the smell it is the rashes, bedsores and infection that need to be prevented. Try and maintain a regular bowel regime with diet and medication and potty train just like a baby.Keep a commode at the bedside.
For those who have a senior who messes in inappropriate places, many times it is out of misplaced resentment and the only thing to do to make like easier is to make a room where everything is easily cleaned and sanitized. Just move the good furniture and carpet out for the duration. Those saintly people who provide care in their homes for mentally disabled clients furnish their homes this way so accidents are quickly clean and nothing is ruined.
I hope this can help some caregivers and remember if you are doing your best that is always good enough. Kindest thoughts
Veronica
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Heatherj43, If they would look up Alzheimer's they would understand. The brain is damaged. The part that tells him he is hungry doesn't work anymore. He eats a few bites and then stops. One day he will stop eating and that will be it. He is 78 and I will not tube feed him. What would be the point. Thanks for your input and good luck with your parents. I know it is hard. So very hard. God bless you for taking care of them.
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I do think most peple here do understand. I know my dad has just begun to forget how to eat, and refuses to do so.
Both my parents have dementia, maybe with alzheimers, the docs really aren't sure about mom.
My mom will eat 10 meals a day 'cuz she's so afraid she will forget to eat. My dad won't eat all.
My sister and I stay with them at ll times, we split shifts.
We are just now talking about nringing hospice in. As for the rest of your family members...to heck with them. I know most of our family members really don't know just how sick my parents are 'cuz they don't spend enough time with them to understand it.
I thnak God for my sister, cuz at least she gets it and we can talk about what to do next. We ignore the rest of the family. Unless they want to come on and help, they know squat.
Its none of their business.
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firstgirl, bless you heart you have your hands full too. No one knows what the caregiver goes through. You give you whole life up just to take care of them. My daughter moved in with me to help in June of this year. She has her own problems with mirgraines. Her husband helps too, feeds him and give him his shower. My sister helped some but she is 10 yrs older, going to be 84 in November. But this too shall pass. Take care, Reba
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reba, go for it, your life back, a careing and comfortable life for your husband. don,t let others delay you. best of luck to you , excited for you just thinking of the courage, and wisdom your showing. i,m 72 and don,t know if i,ll live long enough to see my mom through, shes 91 ,, and at home i,m chief caregiver, .. praying for you
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DanielRomero, AD can start at an early age. People have lived for 20 or more years with it. Some of the stages are slower in some people. As I look back I saw the warning signs and didn't know what it was. I am running down. The last 6 years has been a real trip and one I don't want to take again. It is about time I put him in a home. Too much for my age and I want my life back. Some may think that is awful but until you have been there I hope they don't judge me too much. He is 78 and I am 74.
God bless you too.
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Reba,
You are right. There is not anything to stop the progression of AD but death. You are doing a great job. I agree with Lilli, feed him what he will eat and keep him comfortable. When diagnosed at 71, my mother's wishes were to remain in here home of 48 years. 12 years later she is still there. When the time comes for God to call her home I hope I have the wisdom and strength you are showing during your husband late stage of his journey. You know what your husband would want and your posts show a great understanding of what is to come. God Bless.
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Thanks, But I have all the help I need right now. I have four taking care of him and my son-in-law went to classes for this type of work, taking care of old people. Bathing, feeding what ever it takes.

Everyone who writes to me talk about everything except the family pushing me to make him eat. I don't have any problems other than what I have listed. He is a person with AD all that I have listed is what happens to them. I have been doing this for 6 years. Its the family I am having problems with about him not eating. It is part of the disease I tell them. I worked in a hospital with sick people and I know what I am doing. Nothing is new to me, except it is my husband. He is still walking and I have all the equipment I need. His meds? He has to have yhem, they are for his high blood pressure. He has been taking them for 40 years or more.

If you look up AD it will tell you they come to a time when they stop eating. The only thing left to do is tube feeding and that will not happen. His life is gone and he is just alive in body only. What kind of a life is that. He sees the doctor every two to three mos. There is nothing you can do for him at this stage of AD. My doctor knows everything that is going on with him. I do what he tells me. Thanks for your thoughts.
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Hi Reba We had hospice care for my dad at home. A nurse came twice a week and a cna came twice a week. We could call the team anytime we wanted. They helped us get equipment for him, they provided us information on what he should be eating. They took him off meds that were causing him problems-suppressing appitite. They would provide respice care so that we could rest for 5 days. They had volunteers (which we never used) to help with chores or sit with him etc. I would investigate this further. He does not necessarily have to go anywhere. Hospice might also bring in new faces that he will listen to better. My dad was very polite to the nurse and cna and would do things for them because they were professionals and had authority. For a long time I worried about what he was eating but a you cannot force him to eat (it is against the law) and b Just because he eats does not mean he will retain it anyway. I would say let him eat what he wants and try to add powdered protein to his food. If you stir it in and wait a little while it is undetectable. Maybe find an icecream that he likes, add the protein and refreeze it and he might get the protein. Make sure you talk to his doctor before adding that though. Some illinesses require you to limit their protein intake. Unless the relative who is complaining is in the trenches with you every day-- I would ignore them. Unless you are there day in and day out you have no idea how hard it is to get someone to do anything. Nagging gets him angry at you so that he does not do anything you want. Trickery makes him suspicious and paranoid and he might decide that everything you give him is poison. .
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Kitty Hospice is just another name for a home. They are there for people on a short stay or there to help end their life. They help with pain management or breathing is what I was told by a person at Hospice.
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