How long can a person go without eating?

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My Mom is 84 years old and was diagnosed with Dementia about 8 years ago. Her disease is not being called Alzheimer. My two sisters and I have designated nights we spend the night with Mom. We have a caretaker that stays with her during the day. Mom doesn't really eat, two bites of pancake a day if we are lucky, drinks very little, and cannot get out of bed most of the time. She may get up, with assistance, once every few days. Today her legs gave out and she had to be lowered to the floor. The caretaker has been bathing her in bed for a month now and Mom has wore depends for a couple of years. She sleeps most of the time and stares out the window. She does know who we are, however, she recently has forgotten some of the names of the great grandkids and grandkids. Mom is down to 78 lbs. We had Mom in the ER approximately two weeks ago where she was diagnosed with a UTI and severe dehydration. I know she is already dehydrated again. We have tried to have her associated with Hospice because it is difficult to get her to her Dr. appts. to obtain her refills on her medicines. Because she still knows her name and ours, she didn't qualify for Hospice with her diagnosis of Alzheimer. They are now trying to qualify her based on her lack of nutrition. It is so sad watching her melt away. We love our Mom, but this is no life.

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Thank you all so much. The people on this site have been very supportive and informative. We are fortunate that Mom still knows who we are. She no longer remembers my Dad's name. He passed three years ago. She is beginning to forget the names of her great grandchildren and grandchildren. I don't know if this is a result of the Alhemizers or dehydration. We still chat between her naps....she probably sleeps 20 hours a day. The caretaker that stays with Mom during the day is a blessing. Hospice will be sending a nurse twice a week to check on her and change her bandages...her skin tears so easily. I will savor each of our last conversations and "I Love You's". Thank you all once more.
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Tina my heart is aching for you.
Thinking of you and your mom, we are all here for you...hug
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TMarie I am sorry for your situation. I just came through the same. Mom stopped eating and she passed 11 days later. But, she was eating very little even before that.

I really hope you have another person there with you. Maybe a paid caregiver for a few hours each day? Hospice will only have a nurse there an hour a day at the most....plus a CNA...but only for short period.
I am eternally grateful for the lady caregiver my Mom had each day. This journey was horrific and would have been unendurable without that extra support system! Nothing could have prepared me for that final day!
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Tmarie you are in my thoughts and prayers today. It's so very very hard to lose your mom. When this happened to me all I could do was be there and make her comfortable. Hold her hand, speak to her, let her know you are there and it's ok for her to go. What she has provided to you during your life together will never leave you.
Have confidence you have made the right decision. Surround her with love and all of you will have comfort. Hard to do, I know. 
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Tmarie, my heart goes out to you too. God bless you and your Mom.
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Mom was admitted to Hospice late last night. We are grateful that after three visits they finally were able to approve her. At the same time, it's so sad. I'm having so many mixed emotions. Mom is severely dehydrated, therefore the hallucinations are becoming more frequent. The Hospice Nurse indicated that without food and fluids, Mom wouldn't be with us too much longer. I don't like seeing her this way... but it's so sad....she's my Mom. You only get one.
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Windytown, I'm told it's not Hospice....it's Medicare. They now are assessing Mom for lack of nutrition. This has evidentially replaced failure to thrive. She has to show consistent and extreme weight loss over a period of time. Mom was 112 lbs in Nov, 101 in Jan, and 80 three weeks ago. I can't get her back on the scales because she can no longer get up.  A Hospice nurse is meeting with me at Mom's for a third time tomorrow. I pray they will admit her.
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Careisgiving, you pulled the words right out of my mouth. Since Mom isn't eating or drinking, and is down to 78 lbs, and undernourished, I don't think the antibiotic even cured her UTI.... your body can't heal without nourishment. This and dehydration will continue. I don't plan to treat her. We have kept her in her home and have filled my Daddy's wishes. He ask that we never put her in a nursing home. My sister's and I have stayed nights for over three years now. We all work too. Mom is not "living"....she's existing. It's so sad. It's not an easy decision but I feel it's what she would want. As far as her sugar, Mom doesn't have any sugar issues. They ran all sorts of bloodwork, including that, when we took her to the ER two weeks ago. They even took chest X-rays to check for phenomena. Your input and kind words are very helpful.
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I'm sorry if I sounded harsh in that comment. I just feel your frustration as I also watched my mom waste away. She was probably under 70 pounds when she passed. I wish you and mom the very best. It is so incredibly difficult to witness.
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My mom was admitted to Hospice for failure to thrive in January 2017. I can't think much has changed since then. Contact another Hospice.
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