My mother eats 2 bites of food each meal and lives on ensure. How can I get her to eat more than ensure?

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I had the VA dietitian tell me to make it into milk shacks for him.

This is what I did...add heavy cream, extra chocolate, and a couple tablespoons of buttermilk dried milk Then shake and serve.

Calories, calories...anything for extra calories.

He loved them, and I stopped worrying about is he getting enough.
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No I don't make a big deal I know she's ok with the ensure enlive ..I'm a RN and know if I'm 81 I'm not going to be eating a lot ..i just want her to drink her ensure enlive ... you can lead a mom to food but you can't make her eat ,,,but she will drink ensure
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ohmeowzer, I'm glad you don't fuss at your mom over food. Someone fussing at me over food would be very detrimental to my quality of life ... and I don't even have dementia. You took the trouble to ask a dietitian about this. You clearly have your mom's best interests at heart. Carry on!
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My mom has mod to severe alzehemiers and dementia and she only drinks ensure enlive I cook , I buy her fav foods she won't eat a bite ughhhh..I spoke with a dietitian at work and she said as long as she drinks 3 ensure enlive a day mom is fine ,,, so I don't fuss with her I just give her a ensure
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Have you tried custard? It's smooth and bland and goes down easy,plus you can make up 6 at a time and then just have them ready to serve in the refrigerator and that comes in handy,especially first thing in the morning.
Meatloaf,jello,custard,frozen yogurt,and baked potatoes worked best for us.I hope you find something that works well for you too.Take care~
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hi!
my mom is 90ys and she also has dementia .she doesn't eat by her own.but I cook every things then blunder it even her break fast and she eats very well . she never ask me for food or drink.... but its very hard to face this satuation for our love one.
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Needingpatience, your mother is still recovering from the surgery and the rehab stay. Those are very disruptive for someone with dementia. (And also necessary sometimes.) She may gradually improve back to her pre-surgery baseline, or plateau at this new level. Time will tell.

I understand how concerned you must be that she is losing weight, especially if she didn't have any to spare in the first place. When my husband went through a don't-really-want-to-eat phase he did enjoy milkshakes. I made them with ice cream, a packet of Carnation instant breakfast (OR a can of Ensure), a fruit, and sometimes some yogurt. A favorite combination was chocolate ice cream, chocolate Carnation, a banana, and enough milk to thin it down a bit. Also vanilla ice cream, vanilla Ensure, canned peaches and some of the juice a a shake of cinnamon.

I think your goal at this point (or at least it was my goal) was to prevent or slow the weight loss. Give her what she will actually eat.

To me, the overall goal in caring for someone with dementia is to maintain as much quality of life as possible. Fighting over eating doesn't qualify as "quality" in my book.

You mother has a terminal condition. She is never going to be cured of dementia. How much difference can it really make to the quality of the rest of her life if she eats an oatmeal cookie instead of a bowl of oatmeal?

I understand that you are trying very hard to do what you think is best for her, and you have only her best interests at heart. But at 96 with a terminal condition your mother's needs have changed considerably. I think you will both be happier if you relax your nutritional standards to match her new reality.
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My mom is 96 next month with dementia that has gotten a lot worse after her removal of gall stones in her bile duct, and her 3 week stay afterwards in rehab. Now I cannot communicate at all with her -- waiting for an appointment to get her ears cleaned in another 3 weeks --she cannot hear me at all, even with her hearing aids. She won't eat anything nutritious-- she spits everything out and even would not drink ensure until I started adding ice cream to it. I don't know if 1 ensure a day will keep her alive and healthy. I also can get her to eat 1/2 of a banana a day and she'll eat only 2 bites of oatmeal. She even spits out mashed potatoes and gravy. She's lost 17 lbs since her gall procedure 6 weeks ago. What else can I do ??!!
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My mother had no appitite for 2 years. We basically forced her to eat some. She was so precious she tried to please us. Later she would drink some Ensure 2 times a day. Partly made her drink to stay alive, she was very weak and bed ridden for 3 years. Finally the time came when the drs explained that she couldn't eat and she may choak and asperate which would kill her. When it was bad enought we had to let it go because for months she drank and ate hardly nothing, it was her way of preparing for death. Hospice also had to beat this in our heads. Don't make someone eat when they can't. It actually totures the poor person who is living it.
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AGED:

She has to eat, breathe, and move; and it doesn't look like she's doing much of anything except survive on the supposed insurance of Ensure. It's packed with vitamins, minerals, and fat (about 50% per can), and it's not meant as a substitute for real food. It might sound simplistic, but when you make a habit of not eating you stop feeling hungry. Stomach rattles, your intestines howl and burn from constriction. After a while, you gravitate towards cold liquids, custards, purees, etc. to slow down the wasting.

I'm no scientist, but metabolism slows down with age and you're supposed to eat less. Two bites a meal is ridiculous and a clear sign something's wrong. She might be sick, chronically depressed, or too exhausted to exercise her jaws for some reason. ... And a even a case of Ensure isn't going to cure it.

Call the doctor and ask if there's a nutritionist available. If not, get a referral. Good luck.

-- Ed
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