Wanting food/snacks that others are eating. Anyone else see this?

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My kids have been complaining lately that when they are in the kitchen cooking granma will pick at their food, fries etc or if they are eating chips will say I want some too ..almost like a child..always wants to know what they're eating & will ask for some..kids get annoyed..she has a normal appetite & eats well. Is this behavior normal, anyone else see this? She is not a very hygienic person & the kids have seen her go through the pantry putting her hands in the cookie tin or cereal containers.

Answers 1 to 10 of 10
Perfectly normal. Give her a separate portion and like a child, you pull her hand back and say NO when she touches someone else's plate.
It sounds like your mom may need more supervision. If she's behaving out of the ordinary, I'd report it to her doctor as a change in mental status. Does she have cognitive decline?
My father also had his hands on everything. He was not a very hygienic person and it made my husband sick to see him touch food that everyone was going to eat. We not longer had buffet-style meals or left snacks out. There was no reasoning with him because of his dementia so we had to store food out of sight or lock it away. I can understand that the kids get annoyed with her wanting what they have. Most of all I think it's very important to not allow someone who is not very hygienic to touch food that others will eat.
Is the hygiene issue the main concern? Does Mom live with you? How old are your children?

It is hard to imagine why the kids would be having a snack and not offering grandma some. "Gram, do you want some of my graham crackers?" Then they can put a few on a napkin and hand them to her. She doesn't have to touch their portion. Or give Gram her own snack.

I buy boxes of individual portions of snacks. For me it is great for portion control, calories and carbs are printed right on each package, and the rest stay fresh for weeks. It is a little more expensive that way, but worth it to me. Maybe this could be a partial solution to your problem. Mother gets her own little bag of Cheez-Its. She doesn't have to touch anyone else's.

Get the kids in on this ahead of time. When everyone is together, give a little lecture on the risks of sticking hands into the cereal box or cookie jar. Have them agree and nod that they will not do this. Put a pair of tongs next to the cookie jar -- or a box of bakery tissue sheets. Take Mother aside and ask her to help you train your kids by setting a good example. Your profile does not mention that she has any cognitive decline so I assume she could understand this request.

Transfer the cereal into plastic cereal containers with easy-to-pour from spouts. No one has to touch any cereal to have a handful or a bowlful.

I think the main thrust should be keeping Mother's hands off of food others will eat.

You could also work on hygiene practices, although I think that is less reliable. When my husband developed dementia and did only a cursory job of washing his hands I bought washcloths to use as one-time hand towels and put a hamper in the bathroom for them. He continued with his long-standing habit of drying his hands very thoroughly and I figured that would help clean them, too. And I didn't have to share towels with him! This had the bonus of giving him the job of folding those washcloths and putting them in baskets for the bathroom. I know your mom doesn't have dementia, so maybe you can just explain the importance of clean hands to her, but if not, try for ways to make it happen at least more often.

I see that your mother has diabetes. Is that part of your concern with her snacking? Or is it mainly the hygiene issue?
Thank you all for your advice..
pamstegma..She would freak out if I did that she does not like me at all & takes offence to everything I say to her.
sunnygirl1..it seems like she has a selective cognitive declin ..she is ok when she wants to understand something or to keep a secret from me or if her daughters talk
to her or keeping track of her money..but when it comes to her dil (caregiver) she makes out she does not remember we said that to her & is too weak to do anything very attention seeking.
Demstress...Thank you for sharing your experience she gets a lot of colds & is constantly holding a Kleenex in her hand my adult kids have a very hard time eating anything she has touched.
Jeannegibbs..Thanks for all the points MIL lives with me,my adult children are in their 20"s they do offer her snacks but it annoys them she will ask them everytime they go in the kitchen so they feel they cannot even eat without been watched or her asking for something almost like a little child as my son puts it.I cannot say anything to her as we have never had a good relationship she gets offended if I say anything. Hygiene issue is a concern she gets colds a lot her immune system not strong & will always have Kleenex in her hand & often leaves dirty ones around grosse!! Not to concerned about diabetes as we try not to buy snacks that will effect her sugar levels although my son has caught her sneaking sugar to put in her tea.
Its just very frustrating when she constantly touching everything sorry needed to vent.
Why is MIL living with you? Does she have infirmities that require a caregiver? What are they? You say she doesn't like you. It doesn't sound like your children like her much. You are exasperated by her behavior. Where does your spouse fit into this picture?

You have adult children (living at home?) who get annoyed when Gram asks them to get her a snack when they are going into the kitchen. In the overall scheme of things, it is hard to see why that would be so annoying. "Would you bring me a snack?" "OK. Do you want grapes or cheese and crackers?" Why is this difficult? MIL lives in your house. This small courtesy doesn't seem like a Big Deal. What am I missing?

An obvious solution is to encourage MIL to get her own snacks, but you (understandably) get annoyed if she helps herself to a snack from the cookie jar or cereal box. So what do you want? For her not to have snacks? People with diabetes often do well with frequent small snacks to help even out their blood sugar levels. Does that seem unreasonable to you?

Is there something going on here well beyond the realm of snacks? Because what you describe seems trivial on the surface. What else is happening?

BTW, dementia behavior often appears to be attention-seeking or selective. Has she been evaluated for cognitive decline?
jeannegibbs..Mil is living with us as her other kids do not want her (culture) we are expected to look after our parents..My kids do like her just very busy in their jobs & studies do not spend much one on one time with her. MIL has had a stroke about 5years ago but is physically ok to get around slowly she has always been attention seeking & a little on the lazy side even before the stroke. The unhygienic side really bothers everyone. She has been evaluated no cognitive decline.
What I wanted to know is if anyone else sees this behavior in elderly that everytime whenever someone else is eating or enjoying a snack or meal their parents say they want some too it just seems strange its everytime is this a part of when they say seniors become like children? As I know she was not like this a few years ago.
Top Answer
When I worked in Elder Care, my client was always sneaking snacks and treats. She had Parkinsons and many foods interfere with the meds..so she would often not be functioning well as she had eaten sugar or protein within too close a timeframe to when she'd had her meds. She was also quite unhygienic, as washing her hands was such a huge effort. The family kept EVERYTHING in the fridge in tight, "grandma proof" containers, as she would just eat anything and everything she could--esp sweets.

You sound a little resentful at caring for MIL, that is understandable. Just keep trying to encourage her to not "snitch" someone else's food. That's about all you can do. Your kids are old enough to figure that out for themselves.

Oh, and if hygiene is really an issue, keep bottles of hand sanitizer in each room and just give MIL a squirt in her hands before she goes to eat, if possible. It's not as sure fire as a good wash, but it's better than nothing.
Thank you midkid58 reading your answer give me a bit of a clear picture to whether this is normal..Yes I am resentful I cannot deny that too much bitter history between us was never treated as the Dil or part of the family...We do have sanitizer & Lysol wipes all over the house thanks again everyone
Seems like normal dementia behavior to me. If anybody is eating anything she wants to know where hers is. Hygiene isn't great. Living mostly alone until early this year, I think she developed bad habits. Wants sour cream no spoon fast enough--just uses her fork. Grabs a sweet bread, bites it, doesn't want it--back into the bag! Things like that. I'm hyper aware when I'm setting things out for a meal & even then I have to watch her. The eating & wanting I'm just ready in advance with a portion for her.

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