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This is the case with mom. She lives with me and eats and sleeps ok and yet when someone sees her, they always comment that she looks exhausted and skinny. I feel this reflects badly on me since I'm the caregiver...


Mom has always been a poor eater all her life and she gets upset if I try to get her to eat more ...I just drop the issue when she gets agitated...

Don't worry about others judging you for what you're doing or not doing. I personally give you a TON of credit for living with your mother and caring for her with the very difficult disease of dementia, which I HATE. It's so tough, even on a good day, and others are totally CLUELESS about what all is involved in day to day care giving.

Your mother looks tired and thin because she's suffering from a debilitating disease that's sucking the life out of her and draining her brain of all it's resources, leaving her scrambling to remember literally ANYTHING.

When clueless people make thoughtless remarks, tell them you think your mother looks BEE-U-TEE-FUL and is doing MAH-VA-LISS, thank you very much!
Comments from the peanut gallery may be meant well, but they don't come off that way, do they?

Keep up the great work, my friend!
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wren9184 Nov 18, 2019
You are the best - you made my day - thank you so much.
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Has she had any blood work lately to ensure that her nutrients are balanced?

I think that lots of people start loosing weight with dementia and it is exhausting to be idle.

I would respond that they don't see her frequently enough for those comments. It's like watching a child grow with quarterly visits, seemingly growing like a sprout, when in fact it is a slow daily progression.

I am sorry that your visitors are not more positive in their observations, caregiving is difficult enough.
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wren9184 Nov 18, 2019
Thank you.I'm practising to shrug off the peanut gallery and move on:-)
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I recently lost my 79 year old hubby of 53 plus years. Since being diagnosed with dementia 7 years ago he went from a robust, loving, social, husband, to losing 30% of his weight when he ultimately became a nursing home resident of 8 months. Great appetite but no muscle mass anymore from lack of exercise. Let her have what she likes and only what she wants to eat. There's stress enough. Bless you for taking this journey with her. It'll be one of the most emotional things you'll ever try to do. Guilt and blame should not be in your vocabulary.
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busymom Nov 19, 2019
I’m so sorry for your loss. What an amazing thing that you were married for 53 plus years! That can’t be said by very many couples. I’ve only been married for 33 years, but Lord willing, we’ll keep at it and perhaps live long enough to make it 53 plus years.

Your answer is kind and helpful. I liked “guilt and blame should not be in your vocabulary.” Indeed, the weight loss and tiredness will be more noticeable to those who don’t regularly see your loved one

My mom had Parkinson’s and my dad had cancer. Both of them lost weight due to their illnesses. We took them treats and let them eat whatever tasted best to them. Mom would eat yogurt and pudding: Dad preferred ice cream, or a McDonald’s hamburger and fries. They weren’t diabetic, so we let them have whatever was comforting to them at the moment. One of my friend’s dad is nearing end of life. He’s got a hankering for a garden-fresh tomato. We’ve had too many frosts to be able to locate a garden-fresh tomato, so others are trying to find store-bought that taste nearly as good as homegrown. In our society, food is big thing! While a person still has an appetite, my philosophy is to let them enjoy what they want. The time will come soon enough when they not only can’t eat, but won’t want anything.
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My mom eats constantly - I mean like 10 times a day. She is back to living with me and it can get annoying that she is always in the kitchen but then I have to remind myself -hey she's mobile, she can cook and feed herself and that is pretty good at 93! But she is losing weight - I think it's just age. She has been to the doctor and she is in great shape for her age and she sleeps good because I bought her a nice new mattress. Peace out to all the caretakers - and if you don't have to be a caretaker then don't judge anyone too harshly..it is a soul wrenching, patient wearing, physically, mentally and emotionally draining thing to do but I'm glad I've stepped up to the plate to do it.
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busymom Nov 19, 2019
I agree fully with your statement: “If you don’t have to be a caretaker then don’t judge anyone too harshly. It is a soul-wrenching, patient-wearing, physically, mentally, and emotionally draining thing to do.”

For those of us who’ve walked in your shoes, we understand. Some of us also knew that this was the right thing to do for those we love(d).
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On the one hand you are telling us she is eating well and sleeping well.
Then you tell us "Mom has always been a poor eater.....and gets upset if I try to get her to eat more".
So now I don't know. Is she or is she not eating well?
If Mom is eating well and is getting plenty of sleep and is losing weight then you may be looking at an illness that is using up that energy so a physical is in order.
If she is not eating well, that is sometimes something that happens. The appetite does decrease.
As far as the opinions of others, unless they qualify as a medical doctor it is just so much more opinion you don't really need to deal with. Consult with her doc if you are worried. If Mom is overall comfortable and happy I would be the last to force her. Offer things she might love that are nutritious as well, milk shakes and so on.
Good luck.
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wren9184 Nov 18, 2019
Sorry if I confused you!

I guess I thought if I got her to eat more, she would 'fatten' up and not look so tired to others. Then I realized mom has always been a poor eater and gets all upset if I asked her to eat more, so I am not doing that any more. She's sleeping well & mostly ok (except for the repetitive conversations) and using the bathroom regularly. So we are still in the better stage of dementia.
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I'm not sure how many dementia patients suffer with cachexia, but, you can read about it on line and ask her doctor about it. Apparently, the body loses the ability to use nutrients and it's more than just losing weight, but, losing muscle. It's also called wasting or failure to thrive, according to what I have read. Even if the patient continues to eat, it won't help with the weight loss. It often accompanies people with severe chronic conditions.
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Invisible Nov 19, 2019
I think it also becomes harder to eat. Harder to swallow and just not as enjoyable.
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Yes its the progression of the disease. Effects of the brain dying. My husband looked 20 yrs older and he was 61.
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Reply to upallnight
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My husband lost a lot of weight. He eats like a bird. I learned to feed him like I do a toddler. Using small nutritions meals, adding Chocolate milk (ensure) and slowly he has gained about 14 lbs. I wish you well with this endeavor
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Invisible Nov 19, 2019
I do think they regress a little toward some of the food they had as a kid. Maybe the flavors are less complex.
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Tell them it's because she's depressed that she doesn't have more visitors. 😇
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When my father was dying with mesothelioma, I was exhausted myself and I had a "friend" say the same thing. I took her out of the room and told her in a clear, probably angry voice, "My father is dying, don't you understand that? His body is eaten up with cancer, it is in his bones, his brain, his lungs. He is DYING!! Don't stand there and tell me he looks tired and thin!" Then I walked off crying. It shut that woman up. Maybe you just need to get real with these so called friends or family or who ever the he!! they are.
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