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My mother is in a memory care ALF. She has been there over 3 years. Last June she started not eating. No matter how much I encouraged her she wouldn't eat. I tried all different things to get her to eat but to no avail. She will only eat ice cream. She refuses to drink Ensure. All of her blood work has come back good and does not have a uti. Is this a part of the process of the progressive dementia? She used to participate in all the activities but now she is refusing to go on any outings and doesn't want to leave the facility. She has been seen by a psychiatrist who has put her on an antidepressant in addition to the anxiety medicine she takes. What can be done for her or is this a stage of the disease?

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want2know, I think there comes a time when someone who has dementia cannot remember how to eat. My Mom had stopped eating for a month and didn't like Ensure, either..... but out of the blue Mom started eating solid food but would only take the Ensure/Boost if it had ice in it. Apparently it was too sweet for her.

Plus note that as we get older we lose our sense of taste.... sometimes that sense of taste is due to the after taste of medicines. I remember my parents were always eating a lot of sweets like cupcakes, ice cream, pies, cakes, etc.
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Who is her Healthcare POA? I would think that they would be the one making healthcare decisions on her behalf. They should learn as much as possible about options so they can make decisions on her behalf, according to her wishes or what she would have wanted. (See article in above link.)
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When my grandmother was within the last 6 months of her life, she didn't want to eat anything but chocolate. So that is what she did. She didn't have any memory issues.
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Thanks so much for all of your support. I have spoken with nurse who said they increased my mother's depression medicine which also works as an appetite stimulant. She said if it doesn't work they would have to explore other options when I asked her what those option would be she replied to put her in the hospital and see if they could find anything. My mother is terrified of hospitals and I sure would hate to do that.
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It sounds like a lot of things have been ruled out. I might meet with the ALF staff and get their input on it too. Have they mentioned Hospice to you? I think I would read a lot about your condition and then have a plan if she continues to decline. What is her weight loss?

Here's a link for a brochure that really helped me as I was reading information so that I could act on behalf of my loved one. I've been told by others that it was helpful to them too. It's written by a doctor and provides a lot of helpful infomation about late stage dementia and loss of appetite, etc. Specifically, pages 15-18.

http://avoidablecare.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Sharpe-Handbook-A-Caregivers-Guide-to-Advance-Dementia.pdf

I'm so sorry to hear of your mom's decline. I would encourage the ice cream, as long as she's able to tolerate it. From what I have read, the desire to eat does diminish and even if nutrition is provided, the body may not be able to properly utilize it. The article explains it better than I can.
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