Mom is hiding what she is NOT eating

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My mother - who is of relatively 'sound' mind, has started skipping meals and hiding what she is not eating - putting food in the waste can, down the disposal, etc... She 'took to bed' for three days - not eating anything. When 'threatened' with a hospital visit - she came to the dinner table and ate reasonably well, Boost before bedtime as well. Next day - right back to same 'tricks' - not eating, languishing in bed.... Part of this is a bid for attention - I'm sure - but her weight and nutritional status worries me. Ideas?


Tell us more about her history. How old is she and what medical conditions does she have? Is this something new for her, or has she done something similar (or made other bids for attention as far as you see) in the past? Is she showing any other signs of worsening health? Why did she take to her bed - what was going on there? Sounds like she may need to go to the doctor for a good check-up to rule out other things.
My father did the same thing. He ordered some little blue bags from a catalog and would stash uneaten food in them. They are the kind of bags used to pick up dog poop. He would stash the bags behind curtains, under chairs and tables -- anywhere he would not be noticed. I'd find the hidden bags when I was cleaning.

My father was ready to meet his maker. His stomach also gave him problems. He did better with light foods, such as fish sticks, instead of fish. He liked snack foods and finger foods. Heavy meats ended up in doggie bags stashed under the chair. :) I remember finding the final bag a few days after he died. I knew he hadn't eaten that fish, but it took me forever to find it.

The doctors at the hospital found that his stomach was inflamed. It is easy to understand why he didn't want heavy food.
SurgTec, I'm not sure I would interpret any of this as a "bid for attention" unless your mother is a lifelong narcissist, in which case, go right ahead.

I've found with my mom and other elders in my life that a sudden change in status usually signals a physical problem that the elder can't analyze or explain.

I wouldn't threaten a trip to the ER or doctor. I'd simply write down what you are observing and get her there. Something is up; sore tummy, swallow problem, GERD. Something that should and probably can be addressed.
More info as requested: My mother is 90. She's been a widow for 6 years. She moved from her home in MA to my home in FL last fall. We (my husband and I) have taken her back for a visit - with another visit coming up in September. She has a chronic lung condition - bronchiecstasis (sp?). She takes only a couple inhaler puffs a day for that. She has eye drops for glaucoma. That's it. She lived alone with part time home health aides prior to moving in with me. She's been doing fairly well up till quite recently. My husband and I both work full time - but we 'set up' her breakfast and lunch for her - all she has to do is get items from the refrigerator and warm as needed in the microwave. She walks with a rolling walker - that has a seat if she needs to rest. In the last week she has lost interest in reading (always been an avid reader). She's declined outings to the library for a new book or even just a 'ride' while one of us gets gas or visits the Post Office. I tried to take her to the doctor for a 'check up' - she asked me to cancel - she doesn't feel that they can do anything for her anymore and doesn't want to 'bother' me. On the other hand - she always has a 'list' for me when I get home from work. Busy work - items that if she tried she could do for herself. I realize that she mostly wants my time and attention. Her timing doesn't help. All I want when I get home is a few minutes of peace and quiet before I start dinner and prep my next work day. She denies any new 'problems' - just not hungry and feeling dizzy (gee - not eating might lead to this?). I agree that I probably just have to "take" her to a doctor....
If I had to guess, she's having TIAs or has developed Vascular Dementia from the lack of O2 To her brain.
She needs to see a doctor. This Is a big change. She could be depressed. My Dad got this way because of low potassium.

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