Mom has started sneaking food and I am really concerned. Any advice? - AgingCare.com

Mom has started sneaking food and I am really concerned. Any advice?

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She waits until I leave the room and she goes into the kitchen and gets snacks. She eats 3 meals a day which I prepare and I give her an afternoon snack. When I have to leave the room to get laundry or go to the bathroom she goes into the kitchen and hides food in her pockets or a napkin and when I am not watching she eats it. She thinks I don't notice but I do. I haven't said anything to her as I don't want to upset her. The reason for the concern is she is spending more time in the bathroom and I know it has to be upsetting her stomach. Can anyone please tell me how to handle this?

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It is amusing. My loved one would squirrel snacks in her nightstand for no apparent reason. She hardly ever ate them though. She would just accumulate them. Once in regular assisted living, before she went to Memory Care, I took her a box of chicken as a treat. She ate the potatoes before I left. A few days later, I found the uneaten chicken in her nightstand! That was the end of perishable food in her room.
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It would be interesting to know why she's sneaking... maybe it gives her a thrill :-)
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Unless she has some medical problems from the snacks, I would try to make it easy for her. I'd keep the snacks out so she can see them and get them. Telling her she can get them when she wants might not work, because she is likely to forget you told her that.
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Oh good thought about the tummy upset from the stress of sneaking, freqflyer.
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Debsrockyroad, I see from your profile that your Mom is 90 years old. Note that as we age we will start to lose our taste for food but will retain the ability to taste sweets. Let her enjoy the snacks and put them out in a bowl and tell her she can have them any time she wants... unless she enjoys sneaking them like a child would :)

You mentioned your Mom's stomach might be upset from the snacks... it could be from the snacks itself or from the stress of having to sneak the snacks. If your Mom is lactose intolerant it would be best to stay away from milk chocolate made snacks. Little Debbie carries a nice variety of products.
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I don't know how deep into the dementia your mother is Deb but I'm wondering if she's sneaking food as a way to regain some control over her life or maybe for comfort. (Not that she'd be conscious of the reason of course) But even if those are the reasons why she's sneaking food, it doesn't really matter at this stage of her life unless like JessieBelle mentioned, there's obesity or diabetes involved.
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Great idea JessieBelle, "healthy snacks to sneak"
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Deb, I am wondering what the snacks are that would upset her stomach. Unless your mother is diabetic or obese, I think sneaking snacks is okay. You can always choose healthy snacks for her to sneak.

My dad got most of his calories from the snacks he used to sneak. I totally approved of it, because he had so little left in his life to enjoy. I would put his preferred snacks on the table in the dining room and put ice cream treats for him in the freezer. He could get them whenever he wanted. In my father's case, however, he did not have a good appetite for heavier foods served at dinner. It is why I appreciated him getting some extra calories and nutrition from snacks.
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