kaldde Asked November 2010

My grandfather was healthy 6 months ago but lost 30 lbs. because of a sinus infection. How can I get him to eat when he is never hungry?

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We've tried upping his protein intake, adding whole milk/butter whenever possible. He's never hungry and it takes everything in him just to eat dinner. We've tried adding as many liquid foods as they're easier for him to take (protein/milk or juice combos) and add a lot of calories. Yet, he's 88-years-old and still losing weight - around 1 - 2 lbs per week! I should add he has thrush/thrashers from the last sinus infection which caused a fungal infection in his mouth. He's also currently taking medicine for anorexia - it's supposed to make him hungry I guess. He DOES eat (Grandma makes sure of that), but he's just so full always. Please, any diet suggestions on ways to add more calories and possibly types of food that can really be helpful to thin/ elderly people. His doctors just keep telling him to eat steak... and have yet to recommend any dieticians, etc (NW Iowa but can travel to Central IA).

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195Austin Nov 2010
Taking him for a check-up if he has not been and then just relax about him eating-my Mom says I and my sister are trying to make her fat so when I am there I put the food out in serving dishes and tell her to only take what she wants but I did realize she was eating between meals she must have been hungrey to do that the worse thing would to harp on eating-maybe he would be better with smaller meals and my Mom likes crackers with a little wine before she goes to bed. She does eat more when ni one makes a deal of it
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beachwalker Nov 2010
It is hard, indeed, to help with this problem. My husband weighed nearly 300 lbs a year ago when he had his first stroke. Now he is down to 220. LONG ago he weighed 185. But at this age, he is 84, weightloss just means wasting of muscle ( legs and arms) as well as flatter belly. However his appetite is nil except for liquids. Steak - HA...that's a pipe dream...He has few teeth, has swallowing problems too. Is now in a nursing home because he is totally bedridde. Although his mind is mostly clear. "I'm just not hungry!"
He does like milkshakes, however and I add hi calorie protein powder to full fat milk, ice cream and choc or coffeee syrup to tempt him. He uses a straw and can actually finish 8 ounces in half an hour. He loves it even when I sneak in a banana.
The thrush you mention can be very painful! Can also be cured, I believe. Hope your doc is working on that.
He will eat a few spoonfuls of mashed potatoes with cheese and butter melted in.
But if he eats too much he throws it back up. I believe his stomach has "shrunk".
He has a fear of choking too.
Sometimes, we care givers have to face up to the fact that mid to late eighties is 'near the end of the road' and must let the patient make decisions about their intake. FORCING does not work!
We just do the very best we can, loving them and caring for them as lonf as possible. I know it is hard to watch the 'wasting away' bit. I know!
Keep in touch.
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Call Dr. Ted Rooney in West Des Moines for a referral for your father. Dr Rooney specilizes in rheumatology with the elderly but will be able to suggest a specialist in nutrition. Good Luck..He's a good physician.
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greatat61 Nov 2010
It's possible that he may have lost the weight from something other than a sinus infection, or it could have affected his taste buds. Maybe he should have some further tests done. At 88 years old, our bodies can change so much. You are doing a good job of giving him healthy nutrients. You didn't mention if he had other medical concerns, or if his mood has changed. Hope all goes well with him.
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Ladyjane, can you get your dad to eat sweets? poor guy, my Mom loves Buttercrunch Ice Cream, skittles, tootsie pops, and any warm drink with french vanilla cream in it. She cant taste well either. Good luck.
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Braida Nov 2010
It's possible that when your Grandfather couldn't eat for so long, his stomach shrunk, and like you mentioned, it's like an anorexic stage. Also, mouth sores and ulcers can make a person not want to eat, as it is painful. My elderly mother (84) has bouts of appetite loss that her Dr. has diagnosed as Gastroparesis. It's the inability of the stomach to move the food properly through the digestive process. The result is the person always feels full and unable to eat. I think you should take your Grandfather to a Gastroenterologist to see if this is the problem with him. There is a specific medicine that I give my Mom now and then when this happens to her. It helps the stomach muscle move the food properly. You are definitely on the right track with the high protein liquids, but even then, if the stomach muscle doesn't work right, they always feel FULL. It's worrying. I know exactly how you feel. My Mom has finally gone up to 103 lbs. from 88 lbs. WOW. Big accomplishment. One other thing I've found that serving very small and attractive plates (like you would try to entice a child to eat) has been helpful. More often, but small, so it doesn't look overwhelming to them.
Best of luck. I know how scary this is.
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tweetie1016 Nov 2010
I used to have one sinus infection after another and you really don't have an appetite because you are always in pain. I did get the sinus surgery which helped immensely and I use the Sinus Rinse every day twice a day. Take your dad to an ENT if you haven't already and see if they can prescribe a prescription rinse which also helps. As for his eating habits, try ensure; it has all the vitamins he needs. I give this to my dad when he doesn't want to eat and his weight does increase because of it. Good luck.
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Try Boost, it helps my 89 year old mom, who has little appetite. Little amounts through the day. Homeade cookies are appealing and lots of calories. Soup is usually enjoyed, with either chicken or beef and veges and barley or pasta in it. I hope this helps
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ladyjane Nov 2010
My Father is 89 years old and has gone completely off food. He says he is in no pain but just can't taste food anymore so why bother. He must have dropped 20 pounds in a month. He lives completely on Ensure Plus now and is a lot healthier. It has been going on for about a year now with him only eating some beans or rice pudding once in awhile along with his Ensure. He drinks 4 or 5 bottles a day. To make a long story short you can not force a person to eat food when they don't want to. Please try this with your Father so he gets the necessary ingredients.
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Ruth1957 Nov 2010
Here's a little odd suggestion... but I got to see it work first hand. When my friend Helen had no appetite at all due to chemo and advanced cancer, I sat in her bed and applied pressure to the bottoms of her feet. She was then able to eat, and did not feel sick. Also, I'd be careful when choosing a good liquid protein supplement. Go for one which is easily digested, such as a brown rice protein, undenatured whey, or even hemp protein. Lots of sugar, in my opinion, should be avoided. Those side issues of his LOVE sugar. Coconut oil, added to his liquid protein, would be so helpful at this time.
Ruth
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