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Delivering food daily is tiring for her son. Help pls.


This 95-year-old woman is healthy, has no major health conditions except memory loss and she lives alone in an apartment. Her son brings food for the next day every evening because she loves food and will eat everything at once. She has caregivers who prepare lunch and dinner, as a way to ration her food consumption. Anything edible is put on a high shelf to prevent eating a whole box of cereal, cookies, oatmeal, etc. She is 4'9 and weighs about 90 lbs. We leave Cheerios l in a container on her kitchen counter so that she can eat at night. She has prepared meals delivered once a week. However, a caregiver must be there when they are delivered. Otherwise, she will eat two or three meals and desserts at one time. She loves sweets.
Parsing food this way is expensive, and we are not sure if she is getting enough to eat. I changed her diet, so she gets more protein and calories earlier in the day. But that has not eliminated her rapid consumption of a day's food at one time. IMO. She does not need all-day care yet because she is fit and agile.
I suggested buying a second refrigerator and putting a lock on it. Then her son or a caregiver could transfer the daily amount from one refrigerator to the one she uses. A second refrigerator would reduce the amount of time used in transporting food every day.
Has anyone faced this problem? Do you have suggestions for reducing the time allocated to delivering food? Thank you

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I agree with you 500%. Thank you for confirming my worries.
As a paid caregiver, I can only advise her son. But I have considered contacting the son's eldercare attorney about this situation.
Someone else pointed out that her mother is similar and it is a compulsive behavior.
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It sounds as if this woman needs some kind of help. I would be concerned that if she became desperate enough, that she might leave the house in search of food or that she might resort to eating non-food items like soap or cleaners. I would be concerned with leaving her alone.

I would certainly consult with her doctor to rule out certain things. If it is OCD, medication might help her.
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My mom is exactly the same way. Eats everything in sight all day long. She is 4' 10" and weighs 90 lbs. She is bipolar and has been taking Risperdal for 11 years. She has always been OCD and this turn toward compulsive eating is part of her OCD. She can't stand to see food partially consumed. She must "finish it". That includes mayonnaise jars in refrigerator, mustard, pickles, you name it. Every container in my house has been opened and partly eaten - by her - and it is her compulsion to finish it all off. Her mental illness has always been part of my life. She's been hospitalized for it twice. Once in a catatonic state. Now that she is 90 and living with me............she has moved from compulsive exercising to compulsive eating. At her age she is not putting on the pounds. She is living proof that a 90 year old can eat tons of food and not gain weight. All that to say that I completely understand the original question. I wish I knew an answer. At this point, I am starting to hide my own food in the basement. That's the truth. Mental illness is very difficult and is not easily understood by those who have not lived with it.
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I'm having a bit of trouble distinguishing between rhetoric and fact, and I don't mean that critically as your posts have in the past been factually oriented. What I do find rhetorical is the statement that she "eats all the food in the refrigerator at one time."

Either she's stuffing herself or there's not much food in the frig. If the latter, than I'm not sure that the other statements are couched in fact either. Also, if the latter assumption is true, then perhaps she's not getting enough food in the first place. You raise this issue yourself.

Even if the frig is small, I find it impossible for someone to "eat all the food in the refrigerator."

I add that I write this because I think a more realistic explanation of the food situation will help with the answers, and from reading your posts in the past, you seem to be a logical, caring person, so I think you're not getting the straight facts from the caregivers or the son.

I'm also wondering about the caregivers who make lunch and dinner "as a way to ration her food consumption". And WHO made the determination that rationing food was necessary? Rationing food for a 95 year old woman seems a bit harsh to me.

I also can't help wondering if this woman is being given enough to eat at all, or whether the meals are in fact nutritious and varied or just junk food, like Cheerios.

I would never leave that for someone to eat - better something nutritious, even raisins and nuts, both of which are in fact nutritious and not just manufactured/processed food. I realize that a lot of people think cereal is healthy, and it can be if it's not processed and laden with sugar and chemicals.

You are wise to add more protein to her diet. I think she needs something else too, perhaps a well rounded diet. If she's binging, it could be because she's just not getting enough legitimate food, or it could also be an emotional issue.

Before I accept the conclusion that she's binging though, I think more information needs to be provided on the meals that she's getting. If they're just something like hot dogs and deli meat, no wonder she's hungry.

You query yourself if she's getting enough to eat when the meals are parsed out as they are. I think that's your clue right there - something's going on which isn't satisfying her. The question is what.

In addition, I sense as have others that this poor woman is alone for most of her day. Eating may be a compensation for lonliness.

Is she ever taken out, to a senior center, to the library, to a concert, so she can interact with others?
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I would also check around in cabinets and drawers. My mom has hidden "dirty dishes" in some very unusual places if the cleaning people are coming into her place. This woman may be hiding half-eaten food around as well.
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I wonder if this client's memory loss is making her forget that she had already eaten? So after the caregivers leave, she into the food again.... but then she wouldn't be just 90 lbs. Something else is happening here. Could her son install some cameras to see what is actually going on?
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Also, Check the garbage cans. I did a little detective work and found the containers of prepared food in the trash.
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No way is she eating everything in sight if she is only 4'9" and 90 lbs. (metric is 145 cm at 41kg.) Find out the facts. I suspect sonny boy is eating as much as he delivers.
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cwillie, you made a good point about that woman leading a terribly lonely life... especially if she finds so much comfort in food.

I wonder if she were to be moved to independent living or assisted living and be around people of her own age that she might stop that binge eating. Plus with some facilities she would need to go to the main dining room for food, thus wouldn't have a pantry full of food in her room.
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I have to jump back in... it strikes me that this woman must lead a terribly lonely life. It is so sad that so many of us cling so hard to our independence even to our own detriment.
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I also wondered how she could be over eating and not gaining weight. I think you may be in denial about her ability to live alone, one can be very spry and physically fit and still "not have enough sense to come in out of the rain".

As I re-read your post I'm a little confused... she has caregivers prepare breakfast and lunch and her son is bringing a meal in the evening? So the problem is her eating the pantry bare in the evenings despite having a healthy snack available? Having a second frig and locked cupboard may work, but if she is determined she could probably find a way to break in to it, especially as she seems to have too little to occupy her in the evenings.
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The first thing that popped into my head when you mentioned the elder is 90 lbs and she is eating so much, that she needs to see a doctor and be checked for tape worm.... the fact she is eating so much and not gaining weight.

And/or have her checked for a binge eating disorder. If she is living alone, she might be throwing up her food afterwards.
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