My mom is going on 95. She has ongoing dementia. She will always eat a good breakfast and lunch. When it comes to dinner alot of times she says she is not hungry and doesn’t want to eat. Do I let it go or do what I have to to get her to eat?

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Let it go.
Offer food. But never force.
If she is having problems with utensils finger foods are great.
Watch for "pocketing" of food.
You may have to mince or puree foods.
Start with her larger most calorie dense meal in the morning.
And...give her what she wants. If she will eat a bowl of ice cream for "dinner" let her have ice cream.

Oh..if and or when she stops eating and drinking PLEASE do not have a feeding tube placed. They can cause more problems than they solve and can lead to pain or discomfort. If her body can not process the food it can cause blockages or if it causes her to vomit that can lead to aspiration pneumonia.
Helpful Answer (14)
Reply to Grandma1954
CaregiverL Sep 8, 2023
Hi Grandma 1954.! My 96 year old mother with dementia…now in SNF since April…started having days where she refuses meds, drink & food…yesterday was first time she wouldn’t eat anything from what I brought from home….even her favorite chocolate ice cream…today I came to feed her & she ate/drank everything…I know from experience with her being home with me for so many years…if she doesn’t take the Seroquel, then she won’t eat or drink. My mother lost 7 pounds from last month…now 103lbs & she’s about 4 ft 11 inches…last November she was 114 lbs. The facility has her on purée & I requested kosher… sometimes if she refuses it, I take it home, reheat it & bring it back in a microwave container. I hate for it to go to waste.
She's eating a "good breakfast and lunch" so who cares if she doesn't want to eat dinner? At 94 she's earned the right to eat when she wants and if she wants.
Please don't waste your time worrying about such a non-issue when I'm sure you have many more important things to be concerned about. She'll be just fine if she doesn't eat any dinner.
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Reply to funkygrandma59

She's 95. Stop worrying about it. She'll each when she's hungry.
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Reply to olddude

People typically eat MUCH less when they are older. I am 81. I eat usually one meal a day at about 3 p.m. I would not worry about this. She is 94. Eventually your mother will come to the end of wanting food, even of being able to swallow, as when one lives long and long and longer changes occur.

I think it is unfair to bother elders about what and how often and when they are eating. It is much like the bullying that happens often enough to little children that makes food a trial rather than a joy and often has lifelong repercussions for them. My advice with your Mom is to allow her to eat what she likes, how often and whatever amounts she likes.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
ElizabethAR37 Sep 8, 2023
Agree. I also eat one meal/day (have for years) but quantity is less now. I eat dinner which consists of a green salad with some chicken or fish added, a roll and a few bites of something sweet for dessert. I lost 80 lbs. a l-o-o-ng time ago in my 20s and vowed to keep it off, which I have, so my eating pattern has become pretty habitual. I wouldn't appreciate being coerced to eat differently at this point but, of course, who knows what potentially unwelcome changes may come my way?

To naysayers: yeah, I know, it may not be right for many, but it's worked for me. I do have a snack during the day sometimes. Since I'm still here at 86, which I didn't expect to be for sure, I must have done something right.
Let it go. She may eventually refuse all food and you will have to let that go too as it may mean her body is slowly shutting down.

She is nearly 95. This is not the same as getting a child to finish their food if they want a treat afterwards. Please take her age into consideration and allow her some autonomy in her life.
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Reply to Riverdale

My mother is 96 and does the same. Sometimes she doesn’t even want her favorite- vanilla ice cream. And. Sometimes she only wants ice cream. At their age give them what they want. I would not sweat it. Just find a way to give something small if she has to take meds.
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Reply to jemfleming

Husbands 99 year old grandmother would often have ice cream for dinner when she was still at home. She did this for several years and it didn’t seem to cause her any problems. Now in AL she eats their dinner.
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Reply to Oedgar23

As long as she is eating one meal a day I think it’s okay . My parents who are 95 barely eat but haven’t lost any weight to speak of. . My mother will have eggs and toast for breakfast. That’s her big meal for the day.

they both really like ice cream these days. My mother also likes small snacks during the during the day. She eats a lot of nuts which are high in calories. My father likes pastina soup and that’s about it aside from the ice cream. He just does not want to eat any more. It has been months now that he’s eating like this but he is none the worse for it.

It’s more important that they keep hydrated. Getting my mother to drink enough water is more of a concern to me.
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Reply to Hothouseflower

My personal opinion is to not worry about it. She’s eating two good meals a day and at 94 that’s great. I’m 70 and on hospice for liver, parateniel and kidney cancer and who knows what else lol. I barely eat and mostly have to force calories in when I can tolerate them. And I’m getting along. With dementia you’ve plenty on your shoulders and my heart goes out to you. 💖
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Reply to Demi53

Leave her be.

If you are worried about mom's caloric intake--I can tell you that elderly, very immobile people can live for a very long time on what it basically starvation diet. My MIL has been eating around 300-400 calories a day for 9 months. She's still here and actually, doing pretty well. The Hospice nurses all told us that she couldn't subsist in so little, but truth is, we fully expect her to live another year.

Leave her alone. Not worth one second of a 'battle'. Forcing her to eat could make the situation worse. She's fine. Just make sure she's hydrated, that's more important than eating anyway.
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Reply to Midkid58

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