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My mom is 84 and had a stroke last May, which has left her wheelchair-bound and with 24/7 care at home. She can speak and eat and mostly has her marbles (short-term memory is bad). She has always had a big appetite-- for food, for drink, and for life in general. Even after the stroke, she would eat a lot, want dessert, and want 2 drinks. Now we go out to dinner and she has one drink, and maybe 3 bites of food. I asked her if she is trying to starve herself to death and she laughed. She still has a huge life force, but not much appetite. Her home aide says she eats a pretty good breakfast, but mostly has Ensures for the rest of the day. She did have breast cancer a few years ago, so maybe that is recurring?? I guess I will call her oncologist, although not sure what she would do at this point.

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You really need to bring this up to your doctor. It could be caused by another condition such as a UTI, or Gerd. Although my Grandma has the same problem because of her dementia. What we do is let her eat what she wants, and then take it away. Then a couple minutes later we bring it back telling her its dinner time. The second time and third time we feed her, instead of letting her feed herself. We've been able to get her to eat a little more that way, because she forgets that she had just eaten. In the past 2 months she has gone from 170 to 150 and still losing weight. I'm not saying that food trick will work for you, but it's worth a shot to try and get her eating a little bit more. My Grandma only takes 3-5 bites of food at a time, then she refuses anymore. I know she's 91 and doesn't require a lot of food, but any food is better than no food. Something that she might enjoy is pouches of fruit sauce such as Beach nut's fruites on the go. The cost around $1 each, but they have a ton of fruits, and she drinks it rather than having to use a spoon or fork. Or try ensures. Both of those have been life savors for me.
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Well, a nurse is coming to evaluate her for continued home care next week, so I'll ask her about that.

I guess sneaking an antidepressant into her meds is not the right thing to do for her mood. Her affect is so flat and the look in her eyes is so blank. She still enjoys her few visitors. The one thing she really enjoys lately is having me google things and people and listening to me read about them. Today we started with Joan of Arc and somehow ended up with Watergate!
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Hi xinabess, I would think so but since being on this site for several years I've read of many cases where there doesn't seem to be any overt symptoms...Like pain when urinating, or itching etc.
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Thanks, Linda, but wouldn't she have other symptoms if she had a UTI?
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I do think your mom should be checked out, just to be sure nothing like a UTI is going on. I sometimes, also lose my appetite for variable periods of time. Or I should say I 'feel' full and just don't want to eat. Then my appetite will re-appear. To be honest, I do have have a low-grade depression going on most of the time but I don't think it's that. In the meantime make sure she drinks enough water so that she doesn't get dehydrated and offer her small amounts of chilled fruits (or anything that is light that she likes). When I go through my phase of this just the thought of a heavy or full meal will make me less likely to want to eat. I wish I could help more. Blessings to you, Lindaz.
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She pretty much is only having Ensure for every meal now. She really enjoys those, but she still eats hardly any real food. And she wants to lie in bed all day. She doesn't want to take the Remeron her dr suggested for depression and loss of appetite, since she is of that era where you don't take those things. I am tempted to add them to her nightly pills, which she might or might not notice. I know that seems wrong, but I can see she is depressed. I don't blame her, but she could be enjoying life more than she seems to be at the moment. (She has no trouble swallowing or chewing, btw.) Last night I was there and she had 3 glasses of Prosecco with a chaser of Ensure!
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Xinabess, try asking your mother very specifically if she feels full straight away, after only two or three bites; and report her exact answer to the doctor. Feelings of fullness aren't quite the same as loss of appetite; so if that is the case the doctor may have different questions for you.

It's just something to check, not to be alarmed about.
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Thanks, everyone. My mom started out quite heavy, so she is not a skeleton by any means, but she has lost a lot of weight. It's ironic that she tried to go on diets for her entire life and never succeeded, yet here she is losing weight without trying to.

I called her doctor, who asked me a bunch of questions: Do her teeth or tongue hurt, is she in pain, does she seem depressed? The only one that might be true is that she's depressed - although she insists she's not and she is eager to see the few people in her life and get out for a bit when she can. (She has 24/7 aides.) Doc suggested prescribing Remeron, an antidepressant that also stimulates appetite. Mom says she doesn't want that. Aides say she tends to eat one big meal and then Ensure (which she likes) for the rest. So I guess that's it for now. What's crazy is we go out to eat 2x a week when I visit. She orders a pricey entree (we're in NYC) and a vodka on the rocks. Eats 3 bites of the food (but drinks all of the vodka!) and says she's done. I keep encouraging her to get an appetizer instead. Anyway, I always take the leftovers and either I or one of my kids eats them.
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Heck, husband and I are in our mid-60s and you'd think at this time of life with a few years left, and (presently) plenty of disposable income, we would be making the most of it as far as food goes! Unfortunately, we just can't eat like we used to! I make as much dinner as I used to and he can't finish his portion. We go out to eat, and after the salad and the appetizer, most of our entrees come home with us. So it's no surprise as we age, our eating habits change. My mother ate very little, just pushed stuff around when she was in her 80's. And she always enjoyed the Chinese buffet so much before the dementia :-( . My husband's mother had very high cholesterol in her late 70's and was given a strict diet, but she said "I don't care, I've lived a long time and I'm going out happy.".....just some thoughts.... Making milkshakes with some protein powder might be good. (I think Ensure tastes like a vitamin pill :- p ).
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When my grandma loses her appetite she usually has something wrong with her. It's one of the first signs she has a cold, UTI or something else going on with her or is just constipated. She eats really well on a daily basis only sometimes changing up a night time snack once in a while (she's diabetic). She has her ups and downs according to food. She had thrush once due to being on so many antibiotics trying to get rid of UTIs and that made her not want to eat. Don't give up hope. Have a doctor check her out and see if she's healthy otherwise and try her with her favorite foods. Around my house things she doesn't have to chew much is huge with her especially recovering from pneumonia. She loves her soups, soft bread tuna sandwiches, peanut butter breads ripped into pieces, soft muffins, eggs and soft pasta. Aging is hard to watch. I wish you luck.
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Elders do eat less, BUT get your mom checked out by her doctor.
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I this is something new, take her to her primary. If he finds nothing physical he can prescribe a med to help with her appetite.
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My mother is 81. When she came here four years ago to live with me, she started to lose her appetite, and got down to about 85 pounds. I was doing all I could to get her to eat more than a few bites of anything, including ice cream, pudding, all the treats she would eat, and the Boost or Ensure drinks. She put some of the weight back on, maybe 10 pounds.
Three months ago I moved her to assisted living. Last week we went for her quarterly doctor's visit, and he was happy that she was up to 106, and so was I.
So perhaps because the aides bring everyone the same serving sizes, and that she is in a communal dining area, that she is eating more. I do make sure she has her ice cream, and pudding, and nutrition drinks in her refrigerator in her apartment also, and she is either eating them well, or giving them out to friends. Whatever it is, we are all happy to see this sign that she is thriving under the care of the folks at the ALF.
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My mom has had appetite problems for years. It was hit bottom a couple of years ago. When she really wouldn't eat anything but ice cream and not much of that. She went sub 80 pounds. For someone who doesn't eat, all food is "healthy" food. It's all about the calories at that point. High caloric "unhealthy" food is the best food. Since they don't eat much, makes sure what they eat has as many calories as possible. My mainstay was ice cream and nutrition drinks, which are basically just sugar milk. I got mom into the habit of eating ice cream and drinking those shakes at the same time everyday. So it's become a habit. It's worked and she's gained about 10 pounds since the low. Now, her appetite is better than it's been in years. She actually says "I'm hungry."
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Alzheimer's and dementia can cause weight loss, as well as, rheumatoid arthritis. At mom's age she can have anything she wants to eat. She will not touch Ensure or Boost. The goal is getting her weight up. I've done it. From 80 to 95. Her doctors are thrilled. She loves chocolate. She enjoys Milka chocolate covered oreo candy bars. Chocolate ice cream, pie. Because she has Alzheimer's she's a sugar-holic. I buy her gossip magazines, hand her those, one of her candy bars and a big glass of milk. What a treat! Her blood tests are perfect. I give her small portions of good food for meals. I gradually crank back the treats and up the meals. This is what works for her. Slow and steady wins the race. Ask her doctor first. My mom is 88.
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Having had Breast Cancer, I doubt it's reoccurrence is the problem. I am almost your mother's age, Give her whatever she wants to eat. Help her exercise if she wants to. I know for myself, I would rather do without than eat some of the "healthy" food. I hate whole wheat bread. I hate to say this, but maybe your mom is tired of the struggle, especially if she can't do the things she used to.
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As others have stated, it's not unusual to have a decrease in appetite as one ages. Lack of taste, sedentary life style, medication and many other things factor into it. 

When my parents were in IL my dad had a wonderful, full time paid caregiver. The caregiver always made lunch for both my parents as well as frequently making up dinner plates - left in the fridge for later. I remember the first time I saw one of these dinners, neatly plated up in the fridge. Two plates, each with a half a sandwich, a small cup with about two ounces of yogurt and about six grapes. I was shocked that this wonderful caregiver was starving my parents! After bringing it up with my parents and the caregiver I came to understand that this was truly all they wanted to eat. Later, after my dad passed - my mother went through a soup phase. Mom pretty much existed on soup for quite a while.

Still, if that voice in your head is telling you to be concerned - bring it to your mothers doctors attention. At the least, he may be able to put your fears to rest.

Beyond that, as another reply stated - make every calorie you can get into your mother count. Try to get your mom to eat things high in protein - and high in fiber as well.
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I've noticed that my Mother has cut back to 2 meals a day. Partly because she is really barely capable of making her own meals...and partly, her tastes have changed.
Used to be she ate as regular as a clock. 7 am, 11:30, 5. Now she eats a salad sometime in the early afternoon and maybe has toast or something very light in the late afternoon. She's not losing weight, as she eats "out" twice a week, and I think eats pretty well. Just she doesn't move much at all, hence, not burning any calories. I doubt mother walks 1000 steps a day. Or as she calls them: shuffles.

Obviously, with your mother that has had cancer, this is your first thought--it's returned. Maybe, but get her to the doc and address this first.
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When does this weight loss and lack of appetite occur? I am almost 80 and still have a very healthy appetite, and have recently gone on a diet to lose 25 lbs.
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It is completely natural to eat less and less as you age...focus on the most healthy, and favorite foods of hers...
My dad eats like a horse, yet still is losing weight...and when my mom didn't eat at all, her body told us she was getting ready to go, so that is a big indicator.
Talk to her about it, be transparent, and ask HER if she feels to go back to the dr. It's the one thing elders can control...being poked and prodded is no joke at that age, one becomes more sensitive than ever on all levels...
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Also, be sure not to try to force her to eat.
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Remember she's not as active to work up an appetite so won't get hungry. Mine was late coming also. I went from 120 to 80lbs and can't get any back. With the weight loss I can't hold as much food as before. I also would comment I may as well eat the box as the food. It had no taste.
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Xinabess, don't forget that your mother is forced to be much less active than she was, so naturally her body needs fewer calories. It may be a good thing that her appetite has diminished, within reason.

If you, like me, like to have actual numbers to work with, you could ask a dietitian what your mother's Base Metabolic Requirement (BMR) should be. Then you can keep tabs on whether she's getting enough fuel to keep body and soul together :)
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Xina, even before my mom had a stroke, when she was still living at home, she went from her usual 140 lbs. down to 110 for no apparent reason. Doc said that it can just be part of the aging process. Also, apparently your taste buds dwindle as you age.

Did she have a swallow test after the stroke?
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