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My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer 10 yrs ago and has progressively gotten more docile and compliant. She didnt recognize me as her dtr but did recignize me as someone she trusted. Currently she is recovering from the flu and is now refusing to eat or drink - says she doesn't want to, doesn't need to and doesn't believe I know what I'm talking about.....trying not to take it personally, but she has a sinus infection and UTI that she will not recover from if she doesn't eat or drink more.....

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My mother was always a big eater and we never had a problem. She had resided in a nursing home for the last four years . She claimed she hated it but deep inside, I think she actually enjoyed the people around her. About five months ago, she just said she wasn't hungry and didn't want to eat anymore. They gave her protein drinks, ice cream, soup but after awhile, she wouldn't even eat that. All she wanted was Diet Coke. Then one day, she was unable to swallow without choking so they put a thickener in her Coke so it would not go down her windpipe. From that point on, with basically no food and little to drink, she failed and she passed away after the first of the year. All of the caregivers at the nursing home told me when a person's body is shutting down (for one reason or another) this is what happens. I have done research on this, and this is true. I could have had a feeding tube inserted but at 89, I felt my mother lived a good life and she was telling me she was ready to go. I think some times you have to let nature take its course and stop beating your head against the wall to find a solution. It sounds harsh but I know she is in a better place.
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It takes me 2 hours to feed Mom each meal, anyone else out there go through this? I puree her foods, she has swallowing problems, and mostly spoon feed her. She cannot talk but sure opens her mouth for food. I just feed her, she would not ever eat like this if she were in a nursing home, who has 2 hours to feed each meal?
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Seek advice from your mother's physician. Also, recognize that when the body is entering the end stages of life, it is natural to refuse food. I recently read the book, Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande, which was recommended by someone on this website, and thoroughly gained from reading it. He is a physician from India who shared his experience with his dying grandfather, father, and shares anecdotal experiences from his patients who were at their end stage. It is all about acceptance of our mortality; not medicalizing aging, and allowing the infirm to die with dignity. I gained great understanding on the process of dying, what to expect, and to accept that I am in this process with my mother at this time. I will advocate for her and ensure that she is cared for with grace, respect and dignity, but I will not overstep the natural death process by prolonging her suffering with any invasive medical procedures. God bless you and be well.
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Thanks for all the input. I was concerned about dehydration, so I had already started her on Gatorade. Suspected she had a sinus infection (from the flu) and feared she might also have another UTI. I did get her into see her doc and my suspicions were confirmed. Three days into antibiotics and she is doing much better - physically and mood wise, as well. It is just so frustrating and stressful when nothing you try works - grateful I raised 4 children, because I draw on that experience every day as I interact with my mother - patience and routine are my saving grace most days!
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I'm not sure if it's the same with your mom but may be worth asking dr to check. My G'Ma recently had the flu and everyday declined(she's 84, but in incredible health, better than most of her children actually) She got so weak she couldn't even walk to bathroom alone and refused food and drink, and when she tried to eat she couldn't stand more than a bite or two. After second trip to ER, they finally admitted her and did blood work. Her sodium and potassium levels were dangerously low and she was admitted to ICU. As they got her levels increased everyday she got a little stronger and would eat more. After a week in hospital she was sent to rehab for two weeks. Just came home yesterday and is almost 100% back to normal!
Hope this helps. We got lucky that they tested for those things, bc I think they dropped from dehydration and if they had only given fluids, she'd still be in hospital I believe with no answers as to why she was so rapidly declining. Best wishes to you and your family
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My father went a few weeks refusing food claiming it All gave him the runs. I tried every food he requested. I tried my children asking him to eat...nothing. i called paramedics as he was too weak to be out of bed and they wouldnt yake him as he said No. He did go the following day w my husband and he was 119lbs and severely dehydrated in the critical care unitt.no infections no explanation. He then went to hospice for a month for nutritional rehab. 3 mos later home he is eating all day. Dementia does unknown things . We just have to accept it and roll with the changes as frightening as they may be. I wish you luck and blessings
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Thanks to everyone for all of the suggestions and encouragement - my mother has started responding to the antibiotic and is drinking more now - she even ate little muffins this morning! I've just been praying - asking God to give her peace, so she wouldn't be so frightened and confused by not feeling well. She is doing much, much better today. Thank you again - it helps so much to interact with others who understand what we are dealing with and can share what has worked for them!!
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I agree with terryjack1. I don't know exactly how old or how long your was ill but our bodies have a way of saying it is time to let go. Not eating or drinking is part of the process. In my mom's case she has a living will as well as a DNR. I am so very grateful to have had these in place before she declined enough that she no longer understood her choices - she had already made them. Best Wishes...
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I would suggest you check her weight every couple of weeks and keep a record of it. If she is losing weight because of not wanting to eat, and you have tried many ways to get her to eat and you feel her weight loss is degrading her physical health call her doctor. Your mother's doctor may prescribe an appetite enhancer like megestrol acetate or something else. The main thing is to keep records so you can discuss this matter with her doctor.
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When my grandma (who had dementia) wouldn't eat, I spoke to the dietitian. She said what she wants and will eat-let her. I went to KFC to get her mashed potatoes and gravy because that was all she'd eat. Later we blended ice cream with yogurt, cottage cheese, protein powder, fruit or peanut butter. We would use carnation instant breakfast and add some of the above. I tried to pick all the things she liked. You can puree chicken soup and thin it a bit with broth. I found it useful to use a straw. Any amount is better than no amount. However you must remember she has a right to refuse. It's been my experience that those with dementia eventually slowly decrease the amount they eat or will only eat certain foods. Have you spoken to her doctor? It may be time for some end of life decisions. There comes a time when even placement of a feeding tube does not benefit the patient. You have to look at quality of life. You don't say if your mom is up walking and/or enjoying certain activities. Allowing people to die naturally sometimes is the more humane thing to do. Everyone has different thoughts and opinions on this matter, as they should. I like to look at all options, not just one. I find looking at all options that may be available helps one to make the choice that is right for them. The dietitian I spoke to said feed them what ever they will eat/drink. I think you should try various foods/drinks, but I would still advise speaking with her doctor; he may be able to offer some other solutions. I know how difficult it is to see a loved one decline due to dementia and losing them is never easy. When my grandmother passed, I was sad and missed her but I knew she didn't have to suffer any more, we had watch her decline mentally and physically and this wasn't the person my grandma was. Look for a caregiver support group In your area; contact your local Area Agency on Aging or Bureau of Senior Services. They will be able to give you information on in home care and caregiver support. Good Luck.
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Puree a muffin with yogurt or puree 2 boiled eggs. Get a nice warm cup of water or tea and spoon feed her until she has strength. Make it sweet so she likes it. Good Luck, I am doing this myself with my Mom also.
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personalty if she doesn't want to eat or drink then its her choice. u can of course if u are the P O A control put tubes in her to get fluids inside of her to make her feel better. if u hae control then u are the one in charge
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