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Dad with moderate dementia wants ice cream and cookies over and over all day. Doesn't remember an hour ago he had it just an . He can't be distracted and just keeps on and on until he gets it. Even if there isn't any, he still keeps asking, sometimes demanding. He is already overweight and adding lbs. An eldercare specialist told us to let him have whatever he wants. Does that sound reasonable? Not only is the grocery bill getting more and more costly, and can't be good for him, but Mom can't find clothes to fit him anymore. Any ideas?

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My own mother has getting on a candy-sweets jag for weeks. Several times a day she asks for a "tiny little bowl of ice cream" in doll-size portions. Or she wants chocolate, or some kind of sweet, she has this insatiable craving for candy corn.
Mother can and does eat more nutritional foods, usually chicken or beefsteak, but half the time she only eats three bites of whatever and leaves the rest, with "Oh, I'm not hungry". What makes it more frustrating is that she's always on me with, "We need to eat more vegetables/fruits!" even as she doesn't eat them herself.
Her doctor told me that right now she just needs calories, so I go along with this, but it is frustrating.
If your dad's doctor says it's okay for him to have sweets maybe you can ration it out over the day. Is there anything simple and filling he could have, or some kind of sugarless cookie? At least he's eating.
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I keep all cookies, candy, all sorts of sweets well hidden. I think mom has a sugar addiction. If I give her a piece or two of candy, she always wants more and more to the point of becoming aggressive and very angry. When I came to care for her she weighed 175 pounds, now she is about 155. I believe this is due to watching/stopping her sweet intake and having a relatively healthy diet. She goes absolutely wacky on candy and sugar. This is a woman that brought her children up to put sugar on tomatoes which has caused more than one argument. I finally got smart and started having Italian dressing whenever we do the tomatoes. She has adjusted and rarely asks for sugar now. And there is relatively new research that seems to indicate Alzheimer's is caused by sugar intake and other factors. Some are calling alz Type 3 diabetes. Mom is a sugar addict I think.
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By the way, teaching or training someone with dementia is not the same as teaching a child or a non-impaired adult. Refusing a person with dementia the food he wants will NOT teach him to be patient and wait for the next meal. It will NOT teach him to eat what he is given or to do without. He will remember feeling deprived. He will remember someone being "mean" to him. He will not remember the lesson. This is not because he is stubborn. It is because there are serious problems in his brain. Unlike a five-year-old, he really is not capable of learning lessons at this point.
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My husband's geriatrician and also his behavioral neurologist (who treated his dementia) both said to let him eat what he wants to. After a swallow test, a speech pathologist suggested a very restricted diet, and both doctors said NOT to follow it.

I would tend to let Dad have whatever he wants. He is not a five-year-old with stringent nutritional needs. The goal is the keep him happy and comfortable, not to ensure his health and his growth. I like Moxie's idea of portion control, for the sake of avoiding weight gain. But dementia does what it will with metabolism and persons with dementia often gain or lose weight out of proportion to their increase or decrease in intake.

Does dad also eat some higher-nutrition foods at meal times? Is he willing to eat chicken and mashed potatoes? A burger and fries occasionally? A slice of pizza?

How old is Dad? How long has he had dementia?

Do your best to keep Dad happy. At least that is what I'd do.
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The desire for sweets is typical for some patients with frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Hyperoral activity is common. What type of dementia does he have? You can look up other typical symptoms like collecting things, hiding things etc.
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Your dad doesn't remember from one minute to the next that he had ice cream and cookies just a few minutes ago. So what to do? Portion control - give him a small scoop and 1 cookie. Next time he asks same deal and so on. You can also choose lower calorie products or pre-portioned products. In later stages of dementia, he will lose weight. kingsizedirect carries clothing all the way up to 10x and the prices are very reasonable.
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Would you give ice cream and cookies to a five year old all day? Cut the calories to a level recommended by the doctor. If he refuses good food, fine, let him skip the meal and tell him when the next meal is. If you are not capable of handling a five-year-old mentality, then he belongs in a memory care facility. They won't give in to tantrums, and you shouldn't either. Take Control back!!
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