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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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goincrazyinky, does your FIL sometimes cough or choke when eating? Swallowing ability is often impaired in this kind of disorder. If he has had some episodes of choking when eating he might simply be trying to avoid that. My husband likes thick milkshakes with a Carnation Instant Breakfast and fresh fruit blended in, and he likes V-8 juice. He does eat regular meals, but when he is feeling weak or tired I resort to milk shakes. Pasta and soups seem to be good choices for him. He eats yogurt every day.

My husband's sense of hunger is also impaired. He eats when I prepare food for him. I think he could/would go days without eating if left on his own. He eats well when I tell him it is time to, though. If dementia is involved, I would definitely not withhold the Ensure and hope hunger motivates him to eat something else.
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Thank you for letting us know what the doctor said, goincrazyinky. (I remember once calling the pediatricians office to ask how long a child could survive on peanut butter and french fries. They said they didn't really know because they only follow patients until they are 20 or so, but it was at least that long. We know what we "should" eat, but it is amazing how adaptable our bodies are.)

Agedtchr, is your mother's weight stable? Have you discussed her eating habits with her doctor?
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If the ensure was not available he may be hungry enough to eat meals sometimes you need to try different things-maybe you can leave 2-3 cans available and when they are gone he has to wait for a meal or he may be thirsty and a glass of water would help.
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I agree with your doctor. My mother does the same thing, eats a few bites then goes after the Ensure. She is in her early 90's and does not have many good teeth left. Although she has good dentures, I think she has trouble chewing. Also she can't taste food anymore. Sweet is about the only taste sense she has left. And she has digestive problems (also has gall stones and refuses surgery), so the Ensure is an easy digest. When people get old they don't have an appetite so why beg, threaten and cajole them to eat. Just let them take what they can. Believe me they won't die from starvation.
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The doctor just called us and said let him drink all the Ensure he wants as it is better than nothing. I had told him he had drank 6 of them after breakfast...in a ROW...but the doc didn't seem concerned. So...the doctor said don't force the food, just present it but all the ensures he wants is fine!
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My Mom is 90 years old, was doing great until last August when diagnosed with moderate dementia. She had made decision to go into a retirement home shortly before the diagnosis so she was happy with her move. In February she was diagnosed with gallstones in her bile duct. After 2 unsuccessful attempts via ERCP stones were finally removed on 3rd try. Following that, Mom remained in hospital another 5 weeks while regaining strength. She has now returned to her retirement home but has no appetitie whatsoever. I have cooked her favourite foods (the meals at the retirement home are good!) but when I bring them in she doesn't want to eat. If I coax/bribe/threaten her she will eat but I have a fulltime job (currently on leave but have to go back to work in a couple of weeks) and won't be able to be there at every meal to coax. She drinks 3 juice-flavoured Boost drinks a day, 1 box of Resource 2.0 a day and 1 tbsp beniprotein with each meal. I have read on this site about medication to stimulate the appetitie. Are these medications available in Canada does anyone know? Mom's appetite had started to decrease shortly after Christmas when I think back. Is this nature's way of the "beginning of the end" .... ? She is healthy otherwise, she still laughs, still has times of complete clarity but also has "sundowners" confusion some evenings. She is never aggressive and is frustrated by her inability to remember things. Prior to the gallstone incident she attended exercise classes every day at the retirement home, she played bingo, cards, even sang in the church choir! Am I forcing her to eat when her body is trying to shut down?? Of course it breaks my heart to think I may lose her soon, no one wants to ever lose a loved one, but I can't imagine letting her just waste away/starve to death. I am the only family Mom has aside from her siblings, the youngest is 80 and the oldest is 96 (and in great health!).
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He has dementia with his Parkinsons so he will say he is hungry when I ask him and I will go cook him a good supper, but then he won't eat a bite but goes and gets an ensure. Have tried every restaurant in town and no matter what or where, he only eats a few bites of food..I think...to just please us as he is certainly not hungry like he used to be. But isn't it strange that he will go to the kitchen and get an ensure 6 times in a row after I fix a breakfast of bacon, eggs, toast, oats with raisins..just a few bites then it is the back and forth runs to the frig for the ensures..one at a time. it is almost like he forgets he just had one and he will get up on his walker as soon as his finishes one to go get another. We are at our wits end.
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Please ask them if there is any favorite food you can make for them...it gets tougher to get them to eat as time goes on, cause they loose their sense of taste
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My 87 year old father in law, who lives with us, only eats a few bites but always drinks ensure......too much ensure. He had 6 of them after his few bites of breakfast. He has parkinson's and has lost his appetite but will drink Ensure all day. I am waiting for a response from his doctor to see if this is okay. We have tried EVERYTHING to get him to eat, but nothing works.
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