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My mom is wheelchair bound, has virtual no use of her legs (can't stand) and even her arms are too weak to propel the chair even a little. At 5' tall she weighed 160 lbs. last time she was weighed, two weeks ago in a NH. She is now at home with fulltime CNA care and is gaining weight. She loves food & people are bringing her food she doesn't need to eat! We really need a dietician but there's not one in our area and it's so hard to take her out for long. She knows she'll end up back in the NH if she gets any heavier (one CNA can barely move her due to her weight) which she HATED, but she doesn't want to cut back & can't exercise. She's in denial with her health problems. I'm having trouble searching for caloric intake info. for an immobile elderly person. The Dr. just says "watch it". Can anyone give me some advice?
P.S.- She's telling me I don't care about her because I don't send my 18 yr. old, very strong son to pick her up when she ends up on the floor.

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Your mom is so young! Sorry that the both of you are having to deal with this BUT all that much more important that you don't hesitate to take right action now. The idea of limited calories will possibly help her lose weight but I'm not sure it will help her with her underlying desire to overeat. A couple of things to consider that I don't think have already been mentioned. Mom has to sign on to whatever you do. You don't want to be the food police if you can help it. I liked Salisbury's idea of OA and you might consider a psychologist to give you and her tools on how to deal with her condition in the years to come. I would find it very hard to believe that wheelchair based exercises wouldn't help her. I'd seek another opinion on that one. Consider finding a good plant based fiber. PGX is one. Have her drink this before every meal to help her with cravings and help stabilize her blood sugar.
Do the CNAs have bad habits? Do they bring unhealthy food with them to work? I know that might be hard to control BUT it could be very hard on your mom to watch them eat ( or smell the aroma of) foods that she craves but can't have. See if you have any control over that element of her care. Explain the requirements to each person you hire so going in they understand. Once your mom gets control of her emotional eating it won't bother her as much and she won't be as tempted by her friends unhealthy offerings. It really doesn't take that long to stop the cravings once the sugar is cut out and it will help her thinking clear up as well. Comfort eating is a huge problem in our country and a lot of good information is available. Food is a drug. Good luck to the both of you.
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You wrote:

If someone brings it to her she WILL eat it.

OK, as I have said before, recovery will all hinge upon her willingness. Get her to an OA meeting. Go with her. You will be surprised.
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Thank you for the responses! I'm having difficulty navigating this site. Is there a way to respond to questions individually?
Someone said to put Mom in the nursing home. I don't have POA nor am I her legal guardian so I don't have the power to do that. The nursing home would be MUCH cheaper than her being home, but home is where she wants to be.

To answer other questions: She is 74 and the physical therapist says that therapy (as in what a therapist could come in & do) will not help her and she is using small arm weights to help her arms.
For the sake of Mom being overweight, it's not her weight that I care about, but the fact that she will be completely bed ridden if she gets any heavier. She still wants to go out shopping, to church, etc. but doesn't seem to understand that she's eating the wrong things. If someone brings it to her she WILL eat it.

She can not walk after having back surgery on 8/26/2015. She was barely able to walk before then with disc trouble starting at L2 all the way down to S1. That was her 2nd back surgery, the 1st was 07/02/2014. She also has severe arthritis in her left arm and can't use it very well. Also, the Dr. said she has had a stroke but she doesn't believe him.
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if you google " how many calories a day do I need?" You'll find a site with questions about height, sex, age and activity level. I'd say about 1200 calories should be enough. I'm 5'3" , 57 years old and walk 2 miles a day I need 1400.
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I am so glad to see this thread. I've been having trouble with my mother binge eating. If I address it, there is only anger. "I'm 89 years old! So what if I gain weight!"

The big so-what is that it isn't just about her. She wants to stay out of the NH, but she's getting to the point where she has trouble walking. Those extra pounds will make it so where she can't walk. But she won't want to go to the NH. She'll want me to bear the load of her binge eating by lifting and wheeling her around. I won't do that, so I try to curb her binge eating for her own good. I know the more she eats, the closer she is to losing her independence.

My mother had an eating disorder and was morbidly obese until her 50s, when she was diagnosed with Type II diabetes. I see what is going on now as just the same eating disorder. It would be irresponsible of me to not do what I can to curb it. If she is bored she can get up and do something. Eating is not the answer to boredom and will decrease the quality of life very quickly. Of course, with diabetes or a tendency toward morbid obesity or heart problems, it can create even more problems. It won't be just the person who is affected. The family and caregivers will be affected, too.
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Hi Rackem, you are right! I may have not exprssed my concerns correctly. I want to point out that we need to keep in mind the feelings and needs of our caregivers, paid or not. It is not fair to encourage someone to be so large that it creates a big difficulty for the one who helps them get around. Stuff said in frustration can be misinterpreted. I think that when you say to yourself, let them eat what they want, there is a limit at which point you can't say that. Only by the time your realize it, it is too late, you can't lose that kind of weight. I think what I am saying here is exactly what needs to be said. Think about what the consequences of being huge are to the person too.
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I thought this site was for sharing experiences and offering heart felt advice in a civilized manner. No one here should be judging, keep it to yourself.
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Not directed at you mollymoose, you asked the right question. I am just shocked at ONE of the responses.
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If you are the one getting her the french fries, imagine you are helping her to be more uncomfortable in her body. Imagine the trained people that have to come to help move her if there is an emergency. I can't believe someone suggested this was ok. i do understand the quality of life issues, but we aren't talking liquid diet or even abstinance. Just not eating more than say 1400 calories a day. If you are eating tv or prepared dinners, yes, you will feel starved. Those prepared foods are packed with calories, dense, unhealthy calories. If you can find the things she likes and have her guests bring her fruits and pretty salads instead of chocolates, she could eat a lot. If a heroin addict, would you want her to have the heroin, knowing it was killing her? Same thing.
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I think all of us can agree on one thing--it's really frustrating dealing with eating issues with a LO. I load the freezer with home-cooked meal portions (from Mom's own recipes), then come for a visit to find strange food that one of the CNAs brought in. Mom has been sick her stomach TWICE after eating an evening meal the CNA had prepared (too rich). Last two days, she woke up hungry, pushed her Life Alert button, and told the operator she was hungry and could someone bring her something to eat! It's funny now, but the 2nd time, the CNA was downstairs and had to run to the intercom to tell the operator she was OK.
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I could not disagree more with the posts that say let her eat whatever she wants especially if siting the "quality of life" argument. I will use my father and mother as my example. Dad had CHF. In his last 18 months his breathing was very difficult due to fluid in the lungs. Dad was on a high dosage of lasix and supposedly a no salt diet. Yet daddy wanted to eat salty things - he could get my mom to take him out to McD's for French fries and she would cook sausages for him at home upon request. After each one of these little "quality of life treats" daddy would suffer for days, unable to breath. Often a trip to the dr or the ER would be necessary, then lung draining. Then more lasix added in - peeing all day and night as a result, which lead to no sleep, wet bedding and cloths which lead to more laundry to do - which wore mom out... on and on it went for days after a small order of French fries! They always regretted it and always did it again. Maybe it's just me - not my idea of a quality life - at least not over fries or a sausage.
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A nursing home is not the way to go if you want to get your Mom on a calorie-restricted diet. My Mom gained about 50 pounds over a several-month period at her nursing home and the nutritionist told me that they have all residents on a 2,000 calorie diet! Most of these people are in wheelchairs and don't move around enough to burn off that many calories! Unfortunately, my Mom was getting nauseous a lot recently and had no appetite. However, the positive side to it is that she was able to lose all the weight she had gained and is not having that problem anymore.
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I hope you get to read this because it is now later in the day and I am not sure if you will return for updates. Our sister has polio and is now totally bedridden [partially because she has decided living this way is easier than working to get better]. She is 72, maybe 5' and weighs 170. I am going to tell you what the psychiatrist told us, after 6+ months of battling with her about drinking liquids, eating better and exercising, "you can't want it more than her." The same goes for your mother. You can explain all the logic about why being overweight is bad for her, explain why you can't do it alone, but unless she "wants" to understand and do something, there is nothing you can do. What you are doing now is getting yourself sick, angry and feeling guilty about the situation, and it isn't changing. I understand where you are at, and saying "let go" is only going to mean something when you can. I would also try to find out if there is a Council on Aging in your town. They are a wonderful resource and for the most part free. You won't realize how much this situation is hurting you mentally and physically until you are away from it for even one full day.
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Trying to say therapy is good for everyone. Even folks on oxygen and in wheelchairs.
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Peo
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Have you tried physical or occupational therapy to increase moms strength? Even for peo
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Agree that it's the quality of life that matters, and if taking away food deprives someone of his/her main pleasure, then don't do it. My Mom is 95, and enjoys her sweet snacks. She'd much rather have those than a mid-day meal or liquid protein drink such as Ensure or Boost. The doctor doesn't seem to be concerned, but many doctores afraid to confront overweight patients.
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Although I'll probably get bashed for this response, I'm going to say it anyway.

Your mother is wheelchair bound, can't stand up or walk, has little use of her arms. You don't say how old she is, but I suspect she is up there in numbers. You also don't say what her medical condition is that has made her wheelchair bound.

SO WHAT? So she is overweight. SO WHAT? If the aide can't lift her up, there are lifts that can be used. Or get another aide that is stronger. If the only pleasure she has in life is food, then let her have it. While immobile people need far less calories than active people, does it really matter if she is overweight? If the doctor felt that it was a huge problem, I'm sure he/she would have said more about it. It's not like losing weight is going to have her running a marathon, is it? I'm quite sure that being wheelchair bound & having an aide taking care of you is miserable enough----why make her more miserable by restricting her food intake? It's all she has. Give her a break.

I think people get very worked up about things that don't really matter. Look at it from a "whole picture" perspective. Unless losing weight will get her out of the wheelchair and walking again, it doesn't really matter.

And when she ends up on the floor, call the fire department. They will usually send out a couple of firemen who will pick her up & get her back to where she needs to be, whether that be the bed or wheelchair. If the CNA cannot move her, call the agency and get another CNA that can. 5 feet tall and 160 pounds isn't real that obese, believe it or not---especially for someone that is completely immobile.

I knew a man that changed my whole outlook on situations like this, and I will never forget it. He was a medical disaster---a brittle diabetic, took insulin every day, had several fingers and toes amputated. was on dialysis, had barely any heart function because he had several heart attacks, had practically no peripheral circulation, lost his sight & was blind, got around the house with a "Rollator" and went to dialysis on a special bus that came to the door to pick him up. His wife made all his meals for him, check this blood sugar & gave him his insulin. She took care of the ulcers on his feet. Other than for dialysis, he never left the house. He couldn't watch TV anymore, so he had to listen to football games & baseball games on TV. He wasn't able to use the computer because he couldn't see it. He could only listen to the TV when he and his wife would watch movies. A home health nurse came to the house one day, and was doing his intake. She asked him about his diet and what he ate----he told her that at night he has ice cream and other sweet things sometimes. He told her what he ate for meals and what he drank. Th nurse proceeded to give him a whole manifest of why he shouldn't be eating ice cream or sweet things, that he shouldn't be eating & drinking certain things with his meals, etc. He chuckled and said "Listen----take a look at my life. I am blind. I can't walk. I don't get out of the house unless it is to dialysis. I am missing several fingers and toes. My heart is barely functioning. What is my quality of life? I could drop dead the minute you walk out of this house. If I want to have some ice cream, I'm going to have ice cream. I am not afraid to die because my quality of life could not be much worse than it already is. If you were me, and you wanted to have some ice cream, would you have it?" The nurse didn't say anything. I totally agreed with him. I think this situation is probably very similar to that.
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I only meant that 1600 calories a day was a MAXIMUM for maintenance, and, of course, individuals vary widely. I'm 5'2", weigh abt 88 lbs, run daily, lift weights, but gain weight if I have more than 1000 calories per day. When I'm visiting Mom, I have to eat the same as I fix for her, because she won't eat if I'm not eating. Gained 4 lbs over a 9 day visit. Ugh!
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So many factors. If food is her pleasure you must do (small) portion control. Maybe ask visiting friends for other ways to help (wheel her to the park/outside, play a card game, book club) so visits aren't food-centric at all and the visitors still feel they helped. A lot of people use food socially or when bored but don't even really taste/enjoy it past the first three bites. And/or try to direct them to more vegetables if her digestion can handle it.
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I would be cautious with trying to get advice regarding your mothers nutritional needs from closet dieticians - no offense to anyone here intended. The nutritional needs of a elderly, wheelchair bound, medication taking adult with medical condition(s) is going to be an individual thing, for sure. The digestion and the metabolism of an elderly person in this condition is certainly not going to be properly considered in any general height/weight grid that you'll find on line or in a basic diet book. Then there's the psychological factors to consider. Is there no one through your mothers medical plan who could advise you? No one that perhaps even Medicare/Medicaid could suggest? Sounds like your mom needs to build muscle tone yet just maintaining muscle mass in the elderly is a challenge - one that the proper amount of protein in the diet is important to. Yet too much protein without the right amount of complex carbohydrates can be taxing on the kidneys...
Until you can get some professional advice I suspose you could start with the obvious - reduce the amount of processed sugar items. I do know that the elderly generally need fewer calories than a typical healthy adult - even more reason to be sure the calories break down is the appropiate amounts of protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats for that specific persons needs.
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The suggestions for 1600 calories is way too many. I am 79, I am overweight and I eat about 1200 cal a day and can't lose weight plus I go to the gym 2 - 3 x a week for strength training and walk a mile or more a few times a week. When you are old, your metabolism is terrible. I suggest she eat a lot of non-starchy veggies and no more than 2 fruits a day, moderate meat, and NO (absolutely none) sugar or sweets and no bread/grains. I lost 85 lbs that way about 5 years ago, and then hit a plateau, and I'm still fighting it. It's the sugars that hold on the weight. Good luck, it won't be easy especially the first 30 days.

The suggestions others had about her being in a nursing home is a good one, but that is another issue. Although it probably won't cost much more than the full-time CNA.
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the statement about moving her to a nursing home is not helpful. plces are expensive and care is lacking.
elderly fall more at a facilities than anywhere else and loving care is often missing.i am using a hoyer by myself to move my mom at home. she likes sweets. I give her sweets along with a healthy diet
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She has full-time CNA care and her food intake isn't being monitored? Let her have a taste of the food gifts, then instruct the CNA to freeze or hide the rest. Maintenance caloric intake for an inactive person is 10 calories per pound (1600 calories), so your Mom needs to have less than that in order to lose weight. Maybe the threat of a return to the NH will get her to cooperate. Nevertheless, it's her choice to overeat, and if food & friends gives her pleasure, you probably won't be able to change her, short of a heart attack or diabetes. The agency providing the CNAs should have made a care plan for your mother, including meals, meds, etc. My Mom has had CNAs for 2 1/2 years, from 9 am - 10 pm for the last nine months. In her case, it's getting her to eat enough to maintain her strength. I stock up on groceries on my visits and freeze cooked chicken, meatloaf, etc. in individual portions and instruct the CNAs what to give her for meals. She has her afternoon snacks (a few small cookies, yogurt & fruit,slice of quick bread, crackers & cheese, for example). She eats only a light breakfast and dinner with meat, veggies and dessert. At 5'0" she weighs about 100 lbs, but can get around with a walker. After two weeks at home, maybe the food gifts will taper off and you can get her to eat healthy meals.
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Holy cow! You keep feeding her even though the doctor has stated to "watch it". Wheel bound people do not require very many calories. First, stop having people bring her food. Second, switch to some of the healthy choice microwave dinners to control the caloric intake. She could use some weights for her arms to strengthen them so she can push herself. If you do not get a handle on this weight gain, she will have more problems than you could deal with and I'm assuming you have reasons why she is at home with you. If you have a computer, go to doctoroz to get some meal tips. You need common sense, not a dietician. Vegetables, fruits and some fish and chicken are good meal choices. Limit sweets, and NO carbonated drinks. Remember if a CNA cannot lift her, someone else will come in and it will be a constant change of staff. Her health will suffer as well as her well-being. Good luck!
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caloriecount/tools/calories-goal

I had the same issue with my father a few years ago, only he needed to gain weight. He was dangerously thin. With the weight loss/gain calculator, I found out how many calories he needed to maintain his present weight at that time, and then added an extra 1,000 calories a day for a consistent two pound weight gain per week. One pound =3,500 calories, so if you shave off 500 calories a day from the amount of calories it takes in order for your mom to maintain her present weight, she should be able to lose 1lb per week. The link I attached should help you. If for some reason it doesn't work. Google weight loss calculator.
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Definitely less than 1500 calories per day. I would start there- lots of info online about calorie requirements.
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You don't mention how old your mom is or what is causing her to be in the wheel chair. Is food her only pleasure in life? She may link her visitors with food. She may feel, if she doesn't eat, they may not come. You could always call them on the side and ask them to bring less or healthier food. She also may be eating out of boredom. There are probably more structured mental activities if she were in a ALF or NH. It probably isn't politically correct to say, but if your mom is in her late 80s or if her quality of life isn't going to improve with slimming down, battling her over her weight may be a waste of energy on your part.
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Good question. To be honest, I am very surprised that we don't get this question more often. It seems like huge problem to me.

You will get good advice about nutrition here but you probably wont' want to hear what I am going to say, namely, you can't do what she is not willing to do. This all depends upon her willingness. If she is a foodie, then she will want the food. You cannot be the food police. It will wear you out very fast and you will receive no thanks for it.

Before you go too far, check our the web sites for Overeaters Anonymous (www.oa.org) and Al-Anon (www.Al-Anon.org). You will discover that there are many thousands out there living with addicts of all kinds who have learned to focus on themselves, fold their hands, and let it go.
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Move her to a nursing home. They all have dieticians and they know how to minimize fall risks by lowering the bed, putting a tray on the wheelchair and many other methods.
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