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My 85 year old mother had a minor heart attack due to COPD complications. She is refusing to allow others to cook meals for her. She lives alone. She eats well for breakfast and lunch, but generally has very little at dinner. She is Five Foot 3 inches tall and weighs only 103 pounds. She is still very weak and tired from the heart attack but does not want anyone to help her.

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MIL is 83 she would hold the Meal on Wheels food for me to inspect. She would, quite agitatedly, ask me if I could identify the food. Honestly without the menu, I couldn't. It's a very convenient program for me but I see her point. MIL has diabetes and she will eat ALL that is put in front of her. She is petite and 160 lbs and has a VERY sedentary life. I prepare heavy duty paper plates of measured food (sometimes left overs but mostly Sunday cookfest food...it's the only time I have to cook) slide the plate into a zip lock and put them in her freezer. All she has to do is take it out of the zip lock cover it with another paper plate and microwave for 2 minutes. I know this may sound complicated for some dementia patients but her dementia is only evident when you break routine. I worked the "plates" into her routine and wha la, a huge burden is off my shoulders. They are easily counted so I know if she ate. I take out the garbage and weigh her every week so she can't no eat them without me knowing. Also I only make 3 at a time, if I made more she would think I was abandoning her. She used to insist on Hungry Man meals but they are not conducive to a healthy diabetic diet, too much salt, too many carbs and not enough nutritional value. Also she has a problem with ill fitting dentures so chewing is an issue. A typical plate would be 3 Turkey meatballs, a cup of spinach with a 1/2 TBL of butter and a 1/2c of jarred red cabbage. Not a lot of food but enough from keeping her from snacking. I also keep in the house no sugar jello/pudding packs. They are only 10 calories each and they make her smile.
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What seems "little" to you might be just enough for her. I, for example, have a full breakfast and hearty lunch. Dinner is usually light because I'm really not that hungry. A salad and mixed fruit holds me until morning.

She doesn't have a reason to get into the kitchen except for fixing small, survival meals. Remind her of those stick-to-your-ribs dinners she used to make. Tell her how much you miss them. If she says it's a lot of work, tell her you and ______ (outsider) can give her a hand.

Another option is for you to start making those dishes and ask her to supervise to make sure they taste "just right." Fumble and bumble a tad to give the appearance of helplessness. Working as a team might help relieve some of her depression.
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they just came out last Friday to hub's aunt but one somewhat disconcerting thing, as I understood them about the program, it's to help the person's caregiver, so if veryconcerned's mom doesn't already have one.....
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veryconcerned, you would need to contact the local Agency on Aging where your Mom's lives https://www.agingcare.com/local/Area-Agency-on-Aging to see what programs are available. As for paying you for expenses, those probably are far and few between due to State/local budget cuts.
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my 81 year old mom isn't too far from needing caregiver assistance(she lives alone too),and not living near her,are there any government programs to help me with those caregiver expenses.....since I my resources are limited to cover these expendes??
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I think mulatta's gotten off track somewhere, might have been a solution at the time but don't think we're actually dealing with that situation now, and in my situation not sure how well I'd be able to pull it off or even if I would want to; I don't actually care, at least for the food or preparer's sake, if she does throw it away; I'm somewhat concerned for her but as somebody said on here, if she really doesn't need it....not really entirely sure what the reasoning behind it is, especially now that they at least are getting the senior meals; she is still weak as well from her fall where she hit her head; she did bring up the other day wishing there was an agency that would come just be with her, so maybe given enough time kimba's mother will reach that point as well
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Debdaughter: No, my husband's grandmom never asked for the meals. This lovely gentleman was just doing it out of kindness.
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arianne: Thank you!
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Mulata: Yes, it was sad. I don't think the gentleman found out about the tossed meals, fortunately.
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Debdaughter -- I shouldn't have used the word rude. It's not my place to judge anyone, especially people who are not well.
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I hope when I am 85 they are feeding me Arbys !
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Gentretired, your wife might allow someone in to help do a real spring cleaning, the kind where you move furniture and climb ladders and wash windows. Once you get them in the door it may be easier to convince her to have them back periodically... once a month would be a big help.
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you dont feed her for about 10 days . she'll eat arbys , by god ..
she'll say " this is really delicious , got any more ? " .
my point is ;
it isnt delicious .
its sugar , shaved beef , with more sugar ..
the drive thru could have a sugar bag and a tablespoon an it'd be the same thing ..

you people arent putting up one bit of resistance tonight .
im gonna go see my aunt , at least she acts appalled by my antics . she isnt , she just knows how to goad me on ..
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Hopefully you will take those meals home before mom dumps them. You are receiving loving assistance for mom in way of meals, which translates into: someone who cares a lot is going out of their way to get, plan, prepare and deliver something that is useful and a caring human gesture (more and more hard to find these days).
Tactfully, advise well meaning food givers as you're able, that is not necessary at this point to bring food. What's the best way to do this?
I would not want to offend the good intentions of the people who are caring enough to make such an effort. Much less to see that labor of love tossed in the garbage
Fib if you have to regarding mom's diet .... you do not want to burn bridges.
And tell mom that you will be taking care of the food. For her not to toss it, but just leave it to you.................
I know that there comes a time when reasoning is a thing of the past. Out of sight, for your mom is a good thing that will not make her anxious.
Hang tight, and enjoy the meals at your home yourself while they keep coming.
M88
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Arianne, can I ask why you consider it rude? not sure about Llamalover's situation and who this gentleman was who was bringing those dinners but in my situation she never asked for them
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Llamalover47 and debdaughter -- It took courage to mention your relatives' rude behaviors as they aged.
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My husband's aunt's doing the same thing
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Breaks my ♡. Hope that gentleman never found out. As if the food had "something wrong" with it. Very sad to hear.
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The mentalities of elders is a no-win discussion. A lovely African-American gentleman used to bring my husband's grandmother dinners. She immediately threw them away after he left.
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I think that making a habit of putting things back where they belong right away is a very good way of "housekeeping".
When the cleaning day comes, it will be easy to get to the surfaces that need wiping down.
Get rid of papers that are trash immediately. Don't let the pile get a mile high of unmanageable papers.
Separate the important stuff right away. Use a special drawer for unpaid bills.
This paperwork "management" helps us all at any age.
♡♥♡♥♡♥♡♥♡♥♡♥♡♥♡♥♡
Keep your area tidy, it will make you feel better about the appearance of the house.
Poor vision, poor lighting contribute to an untidy area.
Little steps on a daily basis will be an attainable goal.
Many elderly resent someone touching their belongings, etc. Many cannot see well enough to tell things need to be cleaned. Sigh!
Anyway, keeping moving or we will rust...haha!!! M88
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Interesting that all these comments are about parents. But here's an 87 year old man dealing with an 82 year old wife who's raised four sons successfully, and managed a household for about 58 years, and insists she can still take care of the household, adamantly resisting, with much emotion, any companion/caretaker/housekeeper. We're getting along OK with my cooking (amazingly!), but housekeeping is not my glass of beer. So, any advice?
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Sometimes we need to search for male housekeeper or caregivers, to help ease any type of jealousy that a wife might have regarding a female caregiver.

I noticed that with my Mom, she became very miffed whenever a female physical therapist, nurse, or caregiver came to the house to help my Dad. It was how dare another woman use her stove, go through the cabinets, look in the refrigerator and prepare a meal for my Dad [even if the caregiver was also serving the same meal to my Mom]. My Mom even took the dish away from my Dad and dumped out the food.... oops.
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Singingway --

Thanks for mentioning, "Vitamin deficiencies (especially B12) can affect taste buds, and cause losses in smelling and taste." I didn't know that, and think it might be affecting my sense of taste. Will learn more about it.
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Oregongirl is right, Seniors can do well on less food than we think. On the other hand, medications and conditions can affect appetite and attitude (flexible or stubborn for example). Vitamin deficiencies (especially B12) can affect taste buds, and cause losses in smelling and taste. Then people over-salt or over-sugar their foods because they aren't tasting the rest of the flavors. Heart problems can cause depression. Heart surgery often has depression as part of the recovery period. Elders also dehydrate themselves because they don't feel thirst as strongly or don't take notice of it. This is why we all need to develop healthy habits that we do every day without even thinking about it. So when we are very elderly, we will be used to "this is just how I do things! I wake up and stretch and exercise...I eat this...I drink a glass of water...." In caregiving, we learn what's going to be important for US as we age.
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I agree with Oregongirl, unless your mother is malnourished, I wouldn't push the food. Stop fussing over that and it may help with some stress.

On the other hand, I can relate to parents not wanting outsiders in their home. My father fired the housekeeper I was paying for. Not that he cleans better, he just didn't like having someone in the house. It made him uncomfortable. He refuses home help with my mother too. He's 84 and she will be 86. They are both stubborn. The biggest issue would be my mother. She's now getting into that suspicious phase of Alz. She always worried about women going after my father but now it's ridiculous. It doesn't matter if the woman is 25 or 80, my mother thinks they ALL want to take my father away from her, then accuses my father, the other person etc. SMH. My poor dad can't even run to the store for 30 min w/o her thinking he's "run off" to be with someone. So she was not happy about the cleaning lady. Same would happen with any home aid too. I don't recall anyone talking about this. How does one handle this kind of situation?
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Kimba3060 -- As Oregongirl explained, we older people don't require three full meals a day. I'm almost 85; eat a balanced breakfast, dinner at noon and a small meal in the evening. Unless your mother requires supervision for another reason, I suggest letting her take her own evening meal.
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my mom was the very same way. I finally had to tell her that she wasn't going to be able to live in her little house that we bought for her anymore if she didn't allow the nurses to come in and help her. She was raised on the farm and was always very independent. At 92 she was still going out to her back yard and planting vegetables and pulling weeds. She was able to be on her own until just a few months before a bad stroke took her from me. That independence is the most difficult thing to give up I think. Good luck to you.
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Desertra...You scare me. Just kidding of course. But, I will be 74 in April. SO far I am doing very very well. I have my mental capacities, drive my own car, I finally hired someone to clean my home 2 days a week 4 hr each day. I have to have a clean house in order to keep my sanity. However, my kids are begging me to come and live with them. I said ok, if they buy a home with a guest house. They said they would. I do not wish to be a burden on my children. My mother died while I was in my early 40's. People are living longer today. I have a very good friend who celebrated her 89th birthday today and still drives, cooks and is friends with many influential people in our town. We are the exception. I don't want my kids to worry about me. But, lately, I have been getting lazy and forgetting names of people. I don't want to admit that just yet as I have always had a problem with names. Sooner or later, I will realize my issues if they get worse. Before they do, I would love to be around my children. BUT, I REFUSE to allow them to care for me if I no longer remember them. It is too late then. But, please take serious the last days of your mother or father. You cannot get those days back. EVER! You may have to give of yourself for a few months maybe a year or a bit more, but you will thank God you had those days.
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Remember, most Senior Centers have "Time Out" lunches. You can bring her to the Senior Center to meet the people and meet with the people who do the delivery. I sat with a 100 year old women today and on the other side, and 89 year old lady. Neither of them each more than one big meal (Veg, meat or chicken, potato and desert a day. Give it a try. Take her there and let her meet the people who make the meals. I think the meals at the senior center surpass any resturant I have been to. Everything is tender easy to eat. Our cook is finer than many chefs.
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Sounds like your mother is on a Seniors diet. I am 73 and I have a smoothie in the morning or cut up fruit. I eat one big meal a day at the Senior Center. I do not need anymore food. In fact, if someone asked me to eat more, I might get sick to my stomach. This is common with the elderly. They do not have the energy of younger children and do not need the extra meal everyday. She is full after a tiny breakfast and to eat her big meal in the middle of the day is best. Don't push her in some area where Seniors no longer go.
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