Follow
Share

He can take care of his ADL’s. He dresses himself although he needs reminders to change to cleaner clothes, showers but once every one to two weeks. Says he doesn’t feel like it, he mostly sits all day, takes a short walk. He has diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol is on medication for those and seems to be holding his own. He is forgetful and has rituals that are worse, he does have ocd. My question is I try to provide him with nutritious snacks, but he wants sweet stuff all the time and is constantly snacking. He sits for about a half hour then gets up goes to the pantry then the refrigerator and pulls junk out. I swear he would starve to death if I didn’t provide those things. Went to a nutritionist made all kinds of menus, meals and he said he didn’t like any of it… I am trying my best, but I am tired of the fact that he refuses to eat anything that is good for him. He does pick at his dinner that I make. I can’t keep banging my head against a wall. He is 82 and says he can eat what he wants. I feel guilty with all the snacks. He loves sweets, chocolates anything like that. I made chicken noodle soup for him, and he covered it with maple syrup. I am 67, work full time

Psychological therapy is never a recommendation for elders suffering from moderate dementia and exhibiting obsessive/compulsive behaviors....that goes with the territory and with a brain disorder, therapy is a waste of time and money.

That said, elders with dementia love sweets. Remove a lot of the "bad" food from the house so it's not there as an option in the first place. But leave him some of his favorites because his life is already ruined enough by the hateful and miserable disease he's afflicted with, to be further ruined by forcing him to eat healthy. For what? To extend his tortured life, which is the definition of cruelty in my opinion.

My mother ate a lot of junk food in her 90s when her dementia got pretty bad. She'd been On A Diet her whole life and ballooned up to 190 lbs at 92. Who cares? She finally had fun eating all the foods she deprived herself of eating for decades. Food didn't kill her....dementia and heart failure did, at 95 + 1 month.

Best of luck to you and your hubby.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to lealonnie1
Report
Mjiotti Nov 12, 2022
Thank you
(0)
Report
Seems like compulsive eating, maybe psychologist or other therapy would help? Did you ask family doctor about that?
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Evamar
Report

My mother is 73 (turning 74 next month). She has GERD coupled with the compulsive eating, diabetes, high blood pressure, and has survived a hemorrhagic stroke. When she was in Hospice they encouraged her to eat whatever she wanted to build her strength. Once she was released from Hospice and had a colonoscopy that showed a massive ulcer what she ate became more important to us. She was no longer getting weekly nurse visits and her nutrition was causing issues with her health and lab work.

We cleaned out her fridge and only put in there what she was to eat for the day and she had an open shelf in the kitchen where we would put the non-refrigerated items she had for the day. (We have our own refrigerator in our room, filled with her groceries and ours.) Surprise, she was eating all her snacks for breakfast and claiming to not be hungry the rest of the day. And I mean all day. If it wasn't sweet, she didn't want to eat it and was rummaging through the cabinets to find anything sweet she could get. So then we turned a hall closet into the pantry with a lock on it.

We only put out what she can eat when she should eat it. She has an Alexa that announces reminders when it is time to eat and take meds. Fortunately, she still loves fruit and considers it a sweet treat. Here's what her daily diet looks like:

6:30am - Breakfast Snack (a piece of fruit and some yogurt).

8:30am - Breakfast (cereal, eggos, French toast, etc - something with some sweetness to it whether it be sugar free syrup or a cereal she will eat without sugar - she likes the Special K Red Berries cereal and will eat that without sugar).

11:00am - Grain-based snack (popcorn, flavored rice cakes, etc.) that will tide her over until lunch. (Started with Cracker Jacks and then switched it gradually to non-sugary snacks)

1:30pm - Lunch. She will generally eat lunch between 2:00 and 3:00 because she naps mid-day. Her favorite is PB&J (no sugar added to the jelly), broccoli, and pita chips but she will eat salad, tuna salad wraps, chicken salad sandwiches, and roast beef sandwiches. She will generally have a grain-based chip/cracker and some fruit with lunch. (We make lunch the night before.)

5:00pm - Rainbow Sherbet with her meds (she likes to eat the same thing every day for a few months and then will want something different for a few months).

8:30pm - Dinner. We take it to her in her room as part of her nightly wind-down routine. If she has accomplished her daily water goal she gets a fun-size piece of candy with dinner and a capri sun no-sugar added fruit punch. (When we first started this routine we were not above sprinkling a bit of sugar on veggies)

10:30pm - Fruit Popsicle - Outlast no sugar added fruit popsicle (single size).

And that's it for the day. No food is out after 10:30pm to encourage her to sleep. Believe it or not, she is getting the full pyramid of nutrition every day and is happy with her diet. I heard her on the phone with a friend the other day talking, "I actually feel better than I have felt in 10 years. I don't have to worry about if I have already eaten or what to eat. Alexa reminds me to eat and take meds. They take care of everything and I get sweets all day!"

It took months, and I literally mean months, to find things she liked that she could have on her diet, and things she would think of as treats. It was certainly a ton of effort, but we have now progressed to a monthly menu that is filled with meals and snacks that she is sure to like and eat. She looks forward to meals and still has input on what she eats. She picks her fruit for breakfast snack the night before, picks her candy with dinner if she has drank all her water, and looks forward to going through the monthly menu. We have really tried to find the balance between giving her choices and ensuring good nutrition.

I hope this may help you in some way, for you are definitely in a tough spot. Patience, pantry door locks, and Alexa may be useful tools for you. Good Luck!
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to caring4kin
Report
Mjiotti Nov 12, 2022
Wow… helpful information thank you so much!
(1)
Report
I can imagine how frustrating it must be for you, but I have to ask you - with dementia in play, do you really want to play "food police" with him at this point in his life?

If I were in your position, I think I would have a conversation with whatever doctor he sees to manage his diabetes and ask them what they think. If his blood glucose level is stable, and prior to this he has always managed it well, then at 82 and with dementia, I think I would just let him have at it. With the exception of extremely high blood glucose numbers, the danger from uncontrolled elevated blood glucose is damage to your internal organs over a long period of time. If this is a relatively new development, then speak to his doctor about DH's particular risks. You might be surprised at the doctor's answers.

Barring that, if you work all day and he is snacking all day, since he is determined to eat what he chooses, I don't know that there's much you CAN do about it other than to make sure that none of the sweet stuff is in the house for him to be able to eat.

Good luck!
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to notgoodenough
Report
Mjiotti Nov 12, 2022
Thank you!
(1)
Report
Break the meals he has into smaller meals.
Rather than a breakfast, lunch and dinner break the breakfast into 2 smaller meals, the lunch do the same and diner as well.
With 3 meals now 6 and a snack or two he might feel like he is eating all day.
this will keep him from raiding the pantry.
He will not "starve" if you do not provide the junk.
Stock the pantry with foods that he can nibble on safely.
Keep a stash for you in a different area and lock that cabinet if you must.
Lock the pantry and keep the items he can have that day in a bowl on the counter so that he can see them and get them easily.
My Husband would eat a box of "Nutty Buddy Bars" if they were left out. I would open a box and leave 1 or 2 in a box on the top of the refrigerator and he would walk by and grab what was in the box and eat them . Once they were gone there would be no more that day. But there were always apples, bananas or other fruit on the counter. (he did not have diabetes)
Also as he declined I switched his main meal to the morning, he was more alert and ate better at that time and he also was not as hungry through the day. (but it is not hunger that drives some with dementia to eat. They forget they ate or is is something to do that they do not have to think about. Eating is automatic)

I should ask..you say you work full time. Is he home alone all day? if so monitoring what he eats can be a challenge is there a way to get him involved in an Adult Day Program that will give him something to do, keep him occupied and in a safe environment.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Grandma1954
Report
Mjiotti Nov 12, 2022
He is not alone all day. I have a senior helper come in . I took a leave of absence to get it together. So far I am planning on going back to work night shift . He is ok getting himself to bed with no problem and gets up no problem, no wandering yet knock on wood. He doesn’t like anything anymore except sweets. No matter what time of the day
(0)
Report
Mjiotti, as we age we tend to lose our sense of taste except for items that taste sweet. Sounds like your hubby is going through that. So am I at 76 years old.

I remember seeing my Mom's shopping list, [she and Dad were in their late 80's at the time], along with regular items there were Little Debbie's treats.... chocolate muffins.... cherry pie .... fudge vanilla ice cream .... raisin bread .... Pepperidge Farm cookies, etc.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to freqflyer
Report
Mjiotti Nov 12, 2022
Thank you! My next door neighbor’s mother had to have syrup, honey anything sweet poured on everything. I am a nurse and to be honest feel so guilty that I can’t help him with his diet. I feel like I am slowly letting him get worse letting him eat all that junk but he is 82 so I guess enjoy it while he can
(1)
Report
Unless he is diabetic or grossly obese, leave him alone. Let him enjoy this small pleasure.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Bridget66
Report
Isthisrealyreal Nov 12, 2022
He is diabetic but, seems to be holding his own. Per OP.
(0)
Report
See 1 more reply
I guess I have seen enough dementia and Alzheimer's in my life that I feel they can eat whatever they enjoy. What else do they have?

So it shortens their demented life.

Not that I say willfully shorten their lives or they aren't worth the care and worry, I say let them have what they perceive as quality of life because they have or will lose everything else.

Learning to pick your battles is vitally important when dealing with this disease. Food, IMO, should not be one of them.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to Isthisrealyreal
Report
Mjiotti Nov 12, 2022
Thank you! I am a nurse and I cringe but you are right. Enjoy it and hopefully his medicine will help control his blood sugar as it seems to be now
(1)
Report
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter