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Stepdad and I are caregivers. Today is the second day of not eating. My mom has Alzheimers and I am her daughter. Only one of 6 kids that stepped in to help. My stepdad went away for a much needed break for 8 nights. Good for him I say. She has whined 24/7 since he has been gone. We haven't said when he is coming back only soon or in a day or so. Because I am the change in the house I get the brunt of her verbal bashings. Now she has decided not to eat. today is day 2 and still no food. I notice her complaining about something stuck in her throat several times a day. How long before i call a doctor and have him intervene?

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Great article thanks so much.
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http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/documents_info.php?documentID=149

an interesting article, might help?
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Check to see if she really has something stuck in her throat. Dementia in the later stages will prevent muscles from working. Get liquids in her, and get her husband back if you can. Just be patient and hopefully when he returns she will eat. Let the doctor know anyway what is happening.
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Hey NJ Cinderella I called the neurologist because that is her next appointment and her GP is an idiot. She finally ate, thanks to the suggestion earlier by STP. I was fully prepared to call an ambulance. She wouldn't eat if I asked her, you think she would get in the car to go to a doctor? not on your life. Thanks to this forum and several calls to the alz 800 line she started eating.
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I have healthcare power of attorney for my Mom who has dementia. She has been declining rapidly since beginning of February. Because I am the closest family member, it is just me and my kids, and really feel she should not be living alone, I am the brunt of all. Stealing checks, stealing mail and now even stealing her food.

COA is involved as well as APS, because she tells them I am mean to her,
and has instructed them not to let me know what is going on and even
signed a release. Since her demeanor has been going downhill, her Case
Manager has told me a few things.

As recent as last week, she walked 3 miles up a very busy highway and I had
to call the police after a friend saw her crossing a 4 lane highway.. They found her and took her home. It was very cold that day as well.

She frequently calls the police, 25 times in 6 weeks and they called me to see what her issue was. I gave them all the phone numbers of the caregivers she has assisting her living at home alone. I work full-time and she does not want to live with us. I feel she is unsafe in her home. Especially after taking off for a 3 mile jaunt up the highway.

What am I supposed to do when she is telling the caregivers helping her to stay in her home when they won't share information with me? I tried for guardianship last year and $1000 later, I was denied. They said she was physically fine to stay in her home. It is a mental issue not a physical issue.

I was urged to contact my attorney again. I did and he said unless APS is going to side with me, we would come back with the same result as last year. It is so frustrating... Help.
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wait 3 days w/o food and little water and your doctor said NOTHING? get a new doctor! you don't need to call a neurologist, call a GP or bring her to an urgicenter. But yeah find a new doctor. that's ridiculous. We had the same issue when my mother's sugar was so high that it wouldn't register and I forced my father to call her endo specialist. It was sunday and someone else on call not in the practice. they said nothing they could do and call the office on Monday. I was furious but my father is of the generation that whatever the doctor says is gospel and doesn't question anything. I said bring her to the ER because that is dangerous. He said doctor didn't make it sound that it was an emergency we'll wait til tomorrow. ok so he calls the next morning and they say come in at 4. 4pm?! again I said say its URGENT but he didn't press the issue and said well we're going in in a few hours...a few hours can be life or death to a diabetic with sugar that high...so finally at 4 he brings her in and guess what, they call the ambulance and sent to the hospital. yup, that's what I figured would happen. Now she's on insulin shots 4xs a day. sigh....
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If you wait too long it will be considered neglect. 2 days is long enough. call the doctor! if they say its ok then its off your shoulders but they probably will want to see her and possibly admit, if only for dehydration. She is not capable of assessing her needs but you are. Calling the doctor doesn't cost anything, why wait?
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Hey babalou, Mom actually has stage 5 Alzheimers. I did call her neurologist it was saturday and he was on call but unavailable. I also called the alzheimers association help line and nobody in my area was available. The reasoning behind thinking ultimately the not eating is rebellion is because she ate for her friend two days in row(this was day 3). She has the idea that I am her babysitter because her husband is gone at the moment ( much needed break for him). I am a caregiver but haven't said that outloud to her yet. I am going to be following up with her doctor for sure. By the way when she found out her husband is coming home the throat thing stopped. I have so far ducked from her throwing things. this week is was a knife...so that was fun. I find that when i ask her more than once or twice if she is ready to eat or is hungry she gets really agitated so I backed off from that. I am in my first month of being a caregiver so i am learning the language. i do not take offense to advice given here.
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Picasso; Your profile says that your mom has dementia. I wonder if you realize just how many parts of your mom's brain may be broken; that it may be the dementia that is in play here and not her trying to "play" you.

Your mom may no longer process how to get food, how to swallow, how to pick up a utensil, what room to go to. She's clearly hungry, but this is not like a three year old being hungry where, if you put food within reach, they will eat.

You really, really REALLY (and I'm real sorry if you think that I'm being harsh with you) need to get it out of your head that what is going on has ANYTHING to do with you and your mom trying to GET you. You need to step back and look at this from the persepctive of brain function. Which is why you should call her neurologist.
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Oh yeah I did that the first day. I was a chef for many years so I have always paid attention to what people eat and how much so i can have more ready. I put out small bowls of mixed nuts and salty sweet mix fresh blue berries and small grape tomatoes and even popcorn. Who can resist popcorn after they smell it popping. She knew she was hungry but didn't want help and couldn't process in her brain how to get something to eat. She was being rebellious and paying for it in the end. I am just happy she finally ate yesterday and came to me to eat last night.
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Picasso, you mentioned more than once that Mom was looking around for food . . . in cabinets and the frig. Can you have various items of ready to eat tings around? For example. A bowl of washed grapes cut into small bunches --- easy to pick one bunch and she may even hope you don't notice. Ditto on sliced oranges or other fruit. (You might count the items and check later to see if any are 'missing'. ) Then you replace them and check again later. She may not want you to see she is actually eating them so she won't eat the whole thing. What does she like? Have that around. Ice pops, ice cream, cheese, crackers, whatever. Keep us posted.
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Yeah I called the dr on the 3rd morning and he was on call but wouldn't answer or couldn't answer. She ate a small piece of a friends quiche on the 3rd day for lunch but then no dinner. I had that same friend come back yesterday because mom refused breakfast and she ate food from her friend. When dinner came I knew mom was hungry because she kept going to the fridge and cupboards but i didn't say anything. She finally came to me and I asked if i ate something would she. She said lets go see what we can find. I have turned off the gas and removed the knives for safety. she threw one the other day. It was her way of having a little control over something. I saw it but by the 3rd day I worried. Hydration being the biggest issue. I am still knew to all of this and still working on how I say things. For now I will just say less.
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Picasso, call the MD anyway, explain the hunger strike and the fact that it goes away when her friends are there. I have a feeling the catch in her throat is not really there, she is manipulating you, but you should have it checked just the same.
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Hey STP your trick worked I made arrangements for one of moms friends to stop by with a treat (and some ensure just in case). It was quiche and after chatting at the table with everything sitting there she was able to get mom to eat the quiche. That was all for the day but at least she had that. Thanks so much.
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My mom is the early part of stage 5 and the catch in her throat is a concern for sure. She just took a ginger ale into her room and a cookie. at least she will have something. If she pulls the same thing tomorrow I am going to call the doctor. I believe eating is the thing that she can control, only she really do that either. I watched her come in to the kitchen several times opening all of the cupboards and the fridge and the sulking out. I know she has to be hungry. I will continue to try but then call the doctor if this persists. Thanks all.
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Picasso, do you have a good friends whom they understand about Alz/dementia, ask friend to bring icecream or some light finger food.... Sometimes it's works for outside person.....your mom might start nice to your friend and eat foods together? Did she stop taking her meds also?
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Picasso, if your mother has dementia, her ability to tell you accurately why she's not eating is impaired. Please don't make assumptions an out this. Call her doctor and tell her/him how long it's been and let the doctor decide what to do
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My mother has gone on several hunger strikes because she was mad about something. She just finished one The longest she has gone is about 2 days She is in an ALF and they get concerned. I suggest waiting 2 full days then starting their procedure which is to bring in the doctor. I think seniors who do not have much control over their lives any more do this sometimes to make a statement.

Re your mum it may be because her throat is uncomfortable when swallowing for some reason that should be looked into by her doctor or it may be a protest against your step dad taking a break, or, I suppose, it could be both. The biggest concern as others have mentioned is hydration. it is good that she is drinking water today. Maybe wait a bit more and see. How long till your step dad returns?
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Have seen her drink water today. She is doing it because she feels like something in her throat. I want to say yeah its air but I don't.
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While food/nutrition is important, hydration is even more important. Have her drink --- water, juice, milk, even milk shakes. There are small probiotic yogurt drinks I used to have my Mom drink. She needed them for the probiotic value but they were small and she could easily finish them. Sometimes we put out a plate of food as if it were someone who is active all day long. The inactive senior looks at it as if it is overwhelming. So try for beverages and small nibbles. Good luck and your Step Dad will be back before you know it!
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She is looking for a fight. So any conversation I am trying not to engage. Its really hard she is throwing some nasty words at me right now. She says leave her alone its none of my business if she eats and so on. she said she is healthy just ask her doctors....open door there I said yep thats exactly what I will do if you still aren't eating after tomorrow. That will make 3 days. Luckily my step dads sister lives next door and she just got mom to go for a walk (which I have been trying to do all day). My mom...I love her but she is a hot mess.
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Is she drinking? If she can't manage fluids I would be taking her to the doctor/ER ASAP.
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Picasso, "nobody seems to have the answer for this one".... have you taken your mother to the doctor yet? Maybe it could even be a dental situation, a tooth that hurts if she tries to eat.
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Thanks, yeah she isn't on medication. She ate for the first few days he was gone and then that was it a serious protest. yesterday i made her breakfast lunch and dinner. She ate nothing. I gave her some space but kept a close ear and occasional eye on her. Then in the evening she came to me crying about how crappy she was to me when I was young. She is wrestling with some demons of her own, but thats not what concerns me. This is the second full day of no food and that is what I am worried about. Nobody seems to have the answer for this one.
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First thing get your mother to the doctor to see if there is something stuck in her throat. Maybe it is dry-mouth which is caused by certain pills such as blood pressure pills, makes one's mouth feel uncomfortable.

Could it also be that your mother doesn't want to eat unless her husband is at home? Even having Alzheimer's, she could very well be missing him.

Hope you can eventually find the cause for her not eating.
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