It seems as though the nursing home is being very diligent in encouraging the patient to eat- specifically to finish her nutritional drink. After she finishes, the family has often observed what seems to be gastrointestinal distress- slight vomiting, crying, moaning- things like that. She does settle down after a time but it is hard to see her in distress.
She is having trouble swallowing solid food. It was explained to us that this is sometimes a symptom of Alzheimer's. The body is not getting the proper signals to initiate swallowing. I wondered if the same thing might be happening in her gastrointestinal system. Maybe her stomach isn't emptying as well as it should or something.
I am not family so my questions to the facility are unanswered. I just wondered if someone with advanced Alzheimer's can be allowed to choose whether or not they want to eat. I imagine if the drink were left with her and she could work on it little by little, that might help. She can still feed herself- except for swallowing the solid food.
When the drink was brought to her, she indicated that she did not want it but was strongly encouraged to finish it by the dietary staff member. (It seemed like the staff member wasn't allowed to leave until it was finished.)
However, there may be laws requiring the facility to ensure she gets the proper amount of nutrients. And the patient's husband most definitely wants her to eat. He thinks it will make her better and 'then she can go home'.
This is hard to watch.