Follow
Share

For the last few days my father has hardly eaten anything. He is also refusing to drink. He literally takes one sip of water and then refuses.
Should I accept his refusal or keep asking him to drink/ eat a little? He gets very anxious when I tell him that he will start to feel worse because of dehydration.
Any other suggestions?

Find Care & Housing
It's time for a difficult talk. If he's choosing to stop eating and drinking perhaps he's had enough of life and is choosing to leave. He has every right to stop eating and drinking.

Stop telling him he'll feel worse. Allow him to focus on what he needs to do for himself.

Support him, but make sure you support yourself. Contact his doc so he can be placed on hospice. They'll support him and you.

I'm sorry.
Helpful Answer (16)
Reply to MountainMoose
Report

There can be lots of reasons a person stops eating and or drinking.
It is common at End Of Life that a person will stop eating and drinking. The body requires less nutrition, it is using energy to keep the heart and brain functioning.
It is also common if there are other medical problems. Blockage, pain in the mouth, throat, stomach. If there are no medical problems this is a natural course and you should resist the urge to have a feeding tube placed. And in some cases IV's as well can do harm. As the organs shut down the kidneys can no longer function well so urine output is low you do not want excess fluids. Due to the decreased fluids the urine will get darker. The last week of my Husbands life the urine was a dark brownish color.
You might want to contact a Hospice and see if he is eligible if so they will help a lot. Their goal is to keep your dad pain free and provide you with the equipment and supplies and support that you need to keep him safe.
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to Grandma1954
Report
jolobo Jul 20, 2021
Eligibility for hospice care can be decided by his physician and can take place in the home. That's what my mom had. It doesn't cost a thing that way.
(3)
Report
It sounds like your father may have started his dying process. As the body prepares for death it no longer needs food or drink, and in fact is quite harmful for food or drink to be pushed, and can cause unnecessary pain. Your father will let you know if he's hungry or thirsty.
If you have hospice available to you, I would certainly be contacting them today.
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to funkygrandma59
Report

My Mom has difficulty swallowing and becomes dehydrated. She also forgets the drink is right in front of her. I raise my glass or cup and say "Cheers to Dad" or "another sunny day", or the "dog's birthday". Her automatic response is to raise her glass and have a drink. Sometimes just a sip but sometimes she realizes she is thirsty and drinks more.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to BernerMom
Report
GardeningGal Jul 20, 2021
Brilliant! I'm going to use this one!
(0)
Report
Never force food or drink -- only offer it.

Is he in otherwise OK health? Take him into the doctor if he's not otherwise heading toward death, because this is a sign that he's shutting down.

Is he on hospice?
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to MJ1929
Report

i would remind my mother to make sure she drank water every day, her remark was well I drink coffee and juice. But its not clear liquid........she ended up getting UTI and being dehydrated.........went to ER. of course other things were happening as well (kidney function,etc) but after 6 days in hospital she decided it was time for the nursing home...she is 94. I knew she wasn't eating as much as she claimed because I could see weight loss, even though she had food in house which I took up every day. I think she would limit herself. The saying "you can take a horse to water but you can't make them drink" sounds like the situation at hand. You don't say how old your father is, does he have dementia, etc., but all you can do is just wait and then when the time presents itself.....take the measures that need to be taken. IF he ends up in ER....before they release him, let them know that he has no one to care for him at home and that he needs placement. HOWEVER.......IF you have POA....start checking now into an Elder Attorney who can help you with everything for finances, etc. Then find a good NH where he can be placed (make sure they take medicaid for the future). wishing you luck.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to wolflover451
Report

Please get him an appointment with his doctor pronto. Something is happening that makes dad refuse to eat or drink: a bowel blockage, pain in the digestive tract, a neurological injury, or a psychological issue. Please get this addressed. If he is ready to die, he will not last long without adequate nutrition or fluids.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Taarna
Report

take him to the emergency room to rule out infectious diseases. They can check his urine, do chest x-ray, look at labs. If no infections--decide feeding tube or DNR/hospice.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to cetude
Report
Ricky6 Jul 20, 2021
I agree because you cannot judge this situation on the surface alone. However, depending on his age the medical professionals can also job the gun and start talking about end of life before it is here.
(1)
Report
For most men and women they refuse to eat or drink for one of two reasons.

The first one is depression. Perhaps you need to talk with him

They other is they just want to die. All of their family and friends are gone, their health is gone, they are isolated. They just want to give up and die. I would respect that decision.

I have seen both a lot. It is hard to accept but we must respect their choice.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Christservant
Report
Riley2166 Jul 20, 2021
I agree - age the the body is breaking down. It may be a hidden wish that he wants to leave and find eternal peace. Don't force him - let him lead the way and accept it as his wishes.
(0)
Report
What you do now really depends on WHY he isn't eating and drinking.
*Have you ruled out difficulties with his teeth and gums?
*Might he be having difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)? Water was actually the first thing my mom had trouble with.
*Could there be problems farther down - stomach pain, constipation?
*Do you have him on a three squares per day healthy diet or do you allow him to eat and drink whatever he wants whenever he wants it? Try keeping little tempting snacks and favourite drinks by his elbow constantly (now is not the time to worry about healthy foods and drinks, give him beer and chips if he'll take it!)
*Consider supplements like ensure or make smoothies if he's more apt to accept those


If you have tried all this and consulted with his health care providers then as MJ1929 says refusal to eat may be a signal that the end of life is nearing.

Coming back to add that my mom lost all initiative to feed herself many years before she died but never failed to open her mouth and eat when she was spoon fed
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to cwillie
Report
JulieKac Jul 16, 2021
I let him eat whatever he wants. He loves chocolate and biscuits but he doesn’t even want to eat those.
Meal-wise, I give him his favourites - lots of mashed potato, but this week he has just told me to give me what I think. At the moment he is eating a tiny portion of porridge for breakfast, hardly anything for lunch and about a quarter of a very small meal portion.
(0)
Report
See All Answers
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter