My mother will not eat dinner and wants to be in bed by 6pm. What are my options to get her to eat?

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gee I am having the same problem with mommy dearest not wanting to eat for fear of the phantom constipation (don't know if it's real or not anymore even though x-rays have cleared any blockage)....wish mine would want to be in bed by 6! ;-)
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I'm sorry to hear that the food is not what your mom was used to. It's tough when your stuck and you loose all joy in life.

Is your mom at least eating her breakfast and lunch? If yes, then I wouldn't worry so much about her not wanting dinner.... but will be ok with having only a snack of fruit or a shake. (Make sure the staff also has her drink a full 8 oz of water, with/after the shake. Otherwise, she may have harder stools or possibly some minor constipation.)
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No, my Mom is not on a special diet of any kind. She was a very good cook and loved her fresh vegetables. The evening meal always lacks color and the only other choice is canned soups. Thank you for your input. It was very helpful.
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I used to work as an RN on a elder care campus, during the last 5 years of my career, so I may be able to help you a little bit with this.... (That campus contained independent living housing, assisted living, a "regular" nursing home as well as a special mental/Alzheimers floor. I started out at the nursing home and later in AL.)

First, let me ask you what exactly do you mean by "evening meal is not attractive to eat"?! Does your mom require a soft diet that has to be pureed? If yes, then I understand that it may not look all that delicious, but she won't be able to manage eating regular food even if she tried. (Chocking is no fun. She may try to eat, a few times, but soon will give up.) Or is the food quality just plain bad - like dried out and burned meat? In that case, you may be able to complain to the administration and if that doesn't help.... and you really want to push the issue.... to the local government agency that deals with elder care issues.

You could also stock up on non perishables that your mom still can or does like to eat. Maybe she likes hot/cold cereals? As if the staff is willing to work with you on this.... while it may not be "all that," it's better than nothing.

If she likes fresh (or canned) fruit.... bring her a few bananas, oranges, peaches, berries and the likes. (If you get canned fruit, consider looking for the no-added sugar type.

You could also get her a supply of food supplement drinks, like Ensure or Boost. While they are not cheap, it may be something your mom can be talked into. I've coaxed seniors into drinking them by pouring that stuff into a fancy milk shake glass, popping in a straw and adding a little orange slice or umbrella.

If nothing else works, you may want to consider taking your mom to her GP or a geriatrician. She may simply be suffering from (untreated or under-treated) depression.
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