Any suggestions for getting my mother to eat?

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She had a tumor removed in November of last year and it has left her paralyzed on her left side. We've been through rehab and are now at home with home health coming in. She works through her therapy and is gaining what she lost slowly but surely. She she has a positive outlook on recovery but I still can't seem to get her to eat or drink enough. It is a battle every single day. Any tips or advice are greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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I might offer her her favorites throughout the day and make meals available that are easy to eat, but not stress over it. Small pieces and soft food make it easier to handle for the senior.

Seniors often don't have the appetite they once did. Plus, limited mobility reduces the amount of calories they need. As long as she is competent, I would let her decide what and how much she eats. Her time should be enjoyed and not focused on pleasing others with their diet. That's just how I look at it. In their last years, I think my parents should eat as they please.
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My mother was losing weight - she is 88 and I was very concerned that she was not getting enough vitamins/nutrients/food souces so I asked the nurse at her facility if we could add something to her daily diet. She now drinks Ensure 2 times a day (she loves chocolate variety) and has gained her weight back. (There are different kinds of Ensure that vary in calorie content. So you could look into this.)

I also bring her fresh fruit or 1-2 of her favorite foods when I visit and she enjoys those when we do a puzzle. My mother thinks people eat her food so I have learned not to leave anything for her when I leave. So I agree with an earlier comment about socializing. As for the puzzle, I have ordered about 20+ different ones with larger, thick pieces. We can do a 100-piece puzzle in an hour and now I bring one each time to do. She doesn't really remember if we have done the same puzzle, but I do so that is why I needed some new ones to do. You can order them at walmart.com for a reasonable price and use the filter for the number of pieces you want. There are sites (that sell puzzles for Alzheimer's patients) but these puzzles cost so much more.

Good luck!
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My mom was down to 107 lbs when she was 94 (after being between 160-200 lbs for many years). She was sleeping a lot and would forget to eat. I took her to the doctor to get an appetite stimulant and the doctor (a young woman) basically said, "She's old, leave her alone." I didn't like that answer.

So I went over every morning and started making her a good breakfast (eggs/toast and fruit or biscuits and gravy and fruit, or pancakes with an egg and fruit). I sat with her while she ate it. And made her eat it all. Eating is social for many of us, so if there's some social component, people will eat more. I'd leave her a prepared lunch and she always had a plate of food to pick from for dinner. Mom is now 96+ and weighs a steady 130. I always have deluxe mixed nuts available - right next to her chair, along with ice cream, pie, cookies, mac and cheese, soda pop with sugar...at this point, any calorie is a good calorie. She's still able to live on her own with a LOT of help from me. So don't give up - just work patiently with mom to get her eating a bit more and a bit more.
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I mean if she smells something good in the oven, she will be more inclined to want to eat.
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One word: aromas!
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Swallowing might be the problem try her on a soft diet also use baby food mashed to ease her intake until she can relax and eat on her own. Monitor her carefully so that she does not aspirate.
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This is a tough one and there are no easy answers. My mom who is 89 had a peg tube for about 6 weeks was finally able to have it removed after her doctor started her on Megace (sp) for appetite stimulation. It doesn't work for everyone but did work for her. She still is on it and even though with her Dementia she has to be prompted to start eating, she will almost clean her plate. My mil had Alzheimer's and when she would come to our house she would eat better than normal, and we think it was because we all sat down together to eat, and the social aspect of eating helped her. I hope this has helped you somehow. God bless.
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I have an aunt with Parkinson's and LBD. She had gotten down to 95 before her daughter took over her diet. She is up to 130 now. Small frequent meals is what she did. As pfontes said, make what she eats count and realize it doesn't take a lot of food to fill. I heard once that an egg a day will keep one from being frail. Does she have a goal in mind for weight? Amount to gain and time frame to do it in? Not good to rush it. If she is thriving that is the main thing. Blood tests can be informative. Ask her dr if her albumin levels are good. Be careful with drinks like gatoraid because of the sodium. Not knowing what other issues she might have I would check with her dr before giving that. There are medications that help stimulate the appetite but if she is gaining it sounds like you are doing a good job. Most people are overweight and sometimes when we see someone who has lost a lot of weight ( such as lap band) we worry when the truth is they might be/are healthier than they were before. Keep a log or journal and look at it often to reinforce that what you are doing is working as you see the weight going up. Take it with you when you go for a dr visit. Also take the home health log. It gives a very nice picture of what is going on. When we are trying to lose weight the visual is to put the food on a small plate and fill it up. To gain, I suppose you could put the food on a large plate to make it look like you are only serving a small portion. Less stressful. Keep a good schedule. Breakfast early before you turn on the news or call her friend or go for a walk or whatever she likes in the morning. Lunch before she watches her soap or gets her bath or does her therapy. Something to look forward to AFTER the meal. Are you feeding her? Don't rush. Do kegels, lol, or deep breath or tell her a story. In other words distract yourself a bit and her.
Good luck.
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I'm not sure how old your mama is, but when my folks became elderly, their food portions changed significantly. Papa says he simply can't hold much anymore - and that's probably why restaurants have "senior" portions. So if it's the amount that's worrying you - try not to worry too much.

Still - with Papa's tiny eating patterns to get more "bang" outta the food, I try to feed him the most nutritious meals and snacks. Blueberries & sliced banana in his morning oatmeal. Veggie side dish to his sandwich at lunch. Hot green tea instead of coffee. Fresh fruit and nuts always available for snacks. Hot cocoa and/or popcorn when we watch an afternoon movie. Juice is always organic & readily available. He gets dessert at lunch & dinner - usually fresh fruit (right now its fresh pineapple chunks)...sometimes pie or cake....he's from the depression era and those folks do love their sweets! Pop is having bladder issues, so he tries to limit his liquid intake....so we have multiple small bottles of Gatorade in the frige. He says they give him a boost as well as quench his thirst.

Maybe it's a case of having something tempting for your Mom - what were her favorites? Is she encouraged to eat or drink multiple times a day? Does she have snacks readily at hand? Sometimes I just randomly ask Papa if he'd like popcorn or a serving of pie outta the blue and the answer is usually yes....

Good luck!
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