We have moved into assisted living because I can no longer handle the house maintenance and with my declining health, can no longer fix his 3 meals per day. But in the dining area of our new community, he has found the case for extra desserts, he drinks a lot of coffee with sugar, several glasses lemonade, and several packets of crackers with butter before the food arrives. He then eats the full meal plus dessert. He now asks for 2 desserts despite my protesting. If there is a lull between servings, he keeps eating crackers with butter and drinking coffee with sugar.

At home, I had to literally stop him from eating. He would not stop! And now, he just has more food choices as well as more food. He needs to lose weight and eat more balanced meals, but it is a never ending battle to stop him eating. I have tried giving him 1 packet of sugar and 1 packet of Splenda and he won't have anything to do with artificial sweetners. I try to order his extra salad and veggies to fill him up, but it hasn't helped. He doesn't know that he is full.

I am fighting a battle that I cannot win. It is very frustrating for me to see him binge on food. And it is very frustrating for him when I try to intervene and limit his intake.
As I said, it is a never ending battle!!

Diabetes is not in the family genetics, but his A1C is borderline and his blood sugar was 119 fasting. His father weighed 400 lbs because all he wanted to do was eat. His brother is a huge eater and obese with diabetes. Their mother tried everything to help them cut down and lose weight, but to no avail.

I am in the same boat with my husband. I just can't keep fighting the family history when he doesn't understand why he must be sensible about eating and can't remember what he was just told.

So my question to you is, do I continue this warfare or do I just let him eat what he wants? And will it be my fault if he does become diabetic? Will it be my fault if he gets all the horrible symptoms and consequences of this terrible disease?

I just don't think I can battle both dementia and diabetes. I am so tired of struggling for so long. I know that I am declining rapidly myself. I know that I can't go on much longer with his care and his difficult behaviors. This is just one of them.

Any ideas anyone?

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Dee, maybe he is doing this out of boredom or depression or he just wants to prove he can have his own way. Say nothing and see what happens. If you stop reminding him and ignore the bad behavior, he may just stop it.
Focus on your own health first.
Helpful Answer (1)

Thank you all so much for your input. I really needed someone else other than me to say that I cannot win this battle of diabetes when dementia is a formidable warrior fighting me. I want his last years to be good ones for him. It would be nice if they were halfway decent for me as well.

I will talk to the doctor again about this and see if there is anything they can think of. The Primary wants him to lose weight and tries to explain to him the consequences of diabetes. But my husband doesn't remember anything that was said. I will ask about his meds to see if any is causing hunger.

He is losing weight, but not because of the eating. I am afraid that it is the diabetes causing weight loss. If that is the case, then he is already ill with it.

I am trying to keep my head above water and that is why we moved to this place. I don't have to fix his meals and I get housekeeping help, freeing me up to have more energy for him.

Will there come a time when he will HAVE to go to an alzheimer's facility? If I cannot keep him at home with me and perhaps with some outside help, then I will have to move out into a smaller apt. so that I can pay for his facility.

The thought of not being able to take care of him is very hard to deal with. The thought of putting him into a facility when he depends upon me so much is very difficult for me. I was kind of hoping that he would be more in a vegetative state before that happens so that he wouldn't suffer so much. I have seen so many people in homes who are so miserable that they give up their will to live. Or they are warehoused in a place where they are not well taken care of during the hours that you are not there. I often hear it said that they go there to die. To sentence him to that because of my inability to provide for him is more that I can cope with.

We rescued animals for years, for heaven's sake! I ran a hospice for animals for all of them. Can I not do it for my husband?

I sure do appreciate you all being there. Let us all keep each other in our prayers.
Helpful Answer (2)

Your husband's dementia is very sad and very challenging and it is Not Your Fault.

Diabetes would be worrisome and possibly have very bad consequences and would be Not Your Fault.

Your husband already has a terminal disease. Of course you want to prevent any additional health burdens. And you also want to let him enjoy what time he has left. This is a very stressful situation to be in, isn't it? My heart goes out to you. You are doing your best but you cannot do the impossible. Please try to jettison the guilt feelings. They only add to the stress and don't solve the problem. This is terrible but it is Not Your Fault.

How long has your husband had dementia? Has he gained a lot of weight since then? How much? Does he do any exercising at all? Does he walk?

What does his doctor suggest about this challenge?

It sounds like someone is monitoring his a1C. I suppose if/when it tips into the diabetes range it will have to be managed with insulin to match his food intake. Not ideal, but a treatment to try to prevent the complications of the disease.

What are you considering for long-term care? It sounds like taking care of him alone is getting beyond your capacity. Are you thinking about staying in ALF yourself and placing him in a nursing home, or perhaps a dementia care place? Does the facility you are in now have higher skill level places? A couple in my support group lived in two separate units in a care center. She visited him daily and he went to her place for Sundays.

I think that managing his eating is beyond your control. Put your energy instead into figuring out what comes next.

Hugs to you both!
Helpful Answer (3)

Some habits are just so ingrained in us that, like you said, you're just fighting a losing battle. And now he has dementia on top of that. I know my MIL went through a long phase where she would eat anything that didn't eat her first. At least at home, I had a little more control than you do. I began fixing her plate and putting the food away so that it wasn't just sitting in front of her. Gradually, her dementia changed somewhat so that now she doesn't eat like that anymore.

Have you talked with any of the nurses or aides about this situation? They may have some suggestions about how to handle this. Perhaps the dietitian could talk to him, or even give a class that others could participate in and not make him feel singled out. Maybe y'all could participate in more of the activities that are offered that don't include food.

It could be that one of his medications has as a side effect, increased appetite. Maybe they could find one that could suppress his appetite. It will certainly help his long term mobility if he isn't carrying around a lot of excess weight.

If there is an opportunity to dance, or take an exercise/movement class, those would be good activities.
Helpful Answer (2)

You have answered your own question. "I am fighting a battle that I cannot win."

One of the most painful experience anyone has as a spouse, parent, etc. is trying your best to head off a disaster in their life but they go right on and do it anyway. It is worst, I think, when the person has dementia and they can't remember what they were just told nor often grasp even the explanation as to why it is important.

Love, prayers and hugs!
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