Dad will be 96 next month. He has dementia and was in AL memory care with 24 HR live in aide until 2 weeks ago. The aide was there because he pushed another patient. He was declining. Constantly choking on his food and drink. Ended up hospitalized with aspiration pneumonia. Modified barium swallow test showed poor muscle control. In rehab now, he's on a honey thickness pureed diet. He won't eat. Maybe 4 teaspoonfuls and refuses eat anymore. Hardly any liquid consumption. His voice was clear but now very weak and doesn't really say more than a couple of words. It almost appears that he doesn't move his mouth to talk, which could be suscle control. He can no longer walk with help from the bed to a wheelchair. He still knows me (only child) and he knows his birthday, his name and call spell his last name, but that's about it. In rehab so that maybe he can be strengthened enough to make transferring easier, but I don't see it happening. The speech therapist told my that it takes about 33 seconds for him to eventually swallow. I'm afraid that his time with me is coming to an end now. I keep telling him that I am OK and that if he wants to go see mommy it's OK. I will be OK but he never answers. Anyone else been through this with the aspiration pneumonia?

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Thanks, freqflyer. Yes, I think his body is beginning to shut down. As for Hospice, he's in a nursing home for rehab. It's actually part of the hospital next door. I asked about Hospice and they seem to think that it isn't necessary right now. Hospice now is more about keeping them out of the hospital and less about his final days. A shame! Dad has several parts of the hospital named after him and my mom died in the same nursing home 9 years ago. They're taking excellent care of him and doing just what Hospice would do. Keeping him comfortable. Thank you so much for your response! It's hard to see him like this, but it's now about the quality of his life, not the quantity. I'm realistic.
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Lucy, I know it can be difficult to see a parent go through this. It's good you are realizing this and is accepting what might happen next.

Sounds like your Dad's body is slowly shutting down. It is not unusual for someone to eat only a tiny bit and not want to eat any more. What happens is the stomach is now having a hard time processing food and eventually it will be too uncomfortable for Dad to eat or drink. But don't be surprised if Dad rallies and wants to eat and drink more, that is normal but it only lasts a couple of days.

I would ask the nurse or the attending doctor if he/she thinks it is time to call in Hospice to help make your Dad more comfortable. I did that with my Mom and Hospice was so sweet and kind to Mom, thus she passed peacefully.
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