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Anyone have experience with their aged parent not eating?


Mom has a parathyroid issue and as soon as she started taking the meds, she practically stopped eating. I know the meds are part of the problem.


She had surgery to remove the abnormal gland, but they couldn’t find it, so we are back to square one.


She’s in the hospital now and has been given appetite stimulant, but she still only eats probably less than a cup of food all day.


So far the stimulant doesn’t seem to be working and she has been prescribed twice the normal dose.


I am thinking she is at the end of life. They are sending her to a skilled nursing facility today for physical rehab, but if she continues not eating enough, she won’t have the strength.


We give her all soft food and ground up meats with gravies and things like that, and Ensure, but she has no interest in any of it.


I know we can’t force her to eat, but any other suggestions?

My Mom isn't eating either. At first, we tried everything, we started feeding her yogurt, ice cream, and broth. And for quite a while now she only likes hot chocolate. She is drinking very little of that anymore. It's been a good 3 months since she has eaten anything substantial.

After talking to nurses and hospice and reading articles, I've come to realize that they get to a point in their lives that their bodies start to shut down so they do not care to eat anything. We do not force her to eat. WE offer the same things as before and if she wants any of them, we feed her, if not, we don't.

What amazes me is how long someone can survive with so little food. It has been tough for me to see her in this condition. She has lost a lot of weight, is bed bound, but is still mentally alert. Her vitals have been good. My Mother just turned 92 this month. I have heard some folks can last a long time without eating. We shall see. All we can do at this point is keep them comfortable as possible. Good luck to you..
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Friendtotheend Apr 1, 2019
Totally agree. I have seen this 3 times in the last year . I read the digestive system begins to shut down first, but yes, it is truly amazing how long one can go without eating or eating very little. Normal progression of things in a lot of elderly, but it sure doesn't hurt to try. I wouldn't force feed, follow their cues, it's all ok.
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I am in favor of letting nature take its course. If someone has stopped eating, this is God and Nature's way of letting life come to an end. It is in my healthcare directions that I do NOT want a feeding tube under any conditions.
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Caregiverhelp11 Apr 1, 2019
I AGREE. I've read that putting in a feeding tube is only prolonging a person's death. Let nature take it's course. Too many elderly are being kept alive by artificial means, the whole time suffering for much longer than they should have too. I know I have told my family that under no circumstances do I want to be kept alive artificially.
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Give her special things! You didn't say she can't swallow, so why the pureed food and Ensure, yuck. Joy is key, not nutrition right now. I vote for a sundae with whipped cream, nuts and a cherry! Btw that would give her protein, fat, and calcium. :D Or what were her favorite foods? If these don't work, it is possible that she is just ready to go. Best wishes to you in this time.
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Can you make her some shakes? First, you need to get a really good blender, such as a Ninja(I bought a refurb one online/half price). I make my dad really good healthy shakes. Just a variety of them. I always put a handful of spinach, one carrot, a scoop of protein powder and 2 tablespoons or more of jello(made up, can use sugar-free).
Other fruits/veggies/nuts include fresh pineapple, raw squash(yellow, butternut, zucchini), cucumbers, an avocado, apples, strawberries, blueberries, oranges, lemons, broccoli, beets, walnuts, bananas, mango. I use just a 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of different items.
When blender is 3/4 full, add enough water(I fill it half way) until the desired consistency. I, also, add 2 Vit C & multi B vitamin. If your mom has a favorite flavor, such as strawberry, use strawberry jello for flavor. Blend for awhile, so all is frothy and creamy.
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Reply to dads1caregiver
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I hope when I am so old that I need surgery and the surgery does not work and I’m tired of living that no one will force me to eat. Let me die in peace.
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cetude Apr 1, 2019
There is no peace with dying. It's a very lengthy, fearful horrible process. I read other posts it took their loved one like two weeks to die. Don't ever say dying is peaceful. That is rarely the case.
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She doesn’t “have” to eat. A person can live a long time without food. I have no idea how aware she is, or her complete mental and physical condition, but perhaps she just doesn’t feel like eating or is tired of having food poked at her. Keeping her hydrated with fluids is what counts, even if it’s minimally hydrated. I’d follow her cues on the food
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Reply to Daughterof1930
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When a person's body is shutting down, they lose the desire to eat. Hospice said to give my husband whatever he wanted and if he didn't want to eat, not to force him to eat. A dying body doesn't need food. I was told that "not eating" is harder on the people who love him than it is on the person himself. Sometimes we try to keep people alive when their body is trying to let them die. It has taken me a long time to understand this, but now I let my husband eat whatever he wants to eat or to not eat anything when he doesn't feel like eating. Is he losing weight? Yes, but he is happy and I want him to be happy.
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LNelsonLaird Apr 2, 2019
I needed to hear this. We loss my 89 year old mother in December and now my 90 year old father is not eating. He is just not hungry. He will eat sweets though. He is very depressed and wants to be with mom. Health wise, he is okay. I do my best, but I still worry. You are so right, it is harder on those who love and take care of him. Thanks, I needed to be reminded. -A loving daughter.
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I just went through this and it looks like it is the end of life. My mother just died 3/2/19.
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GrannieAnnie Apr 2, 2019
I am sorry for your loss.  It is hard to go through that end-of-life stage just before death..  (((Hugs)))
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My Mom went through this. She stopped eating. She was on hospice care and only ate a little ice cream every day and drank a little bit. She lasted 5 1/2 weeks. She died on 1/12/19. She was 92 1/2. It is hard for me to day this. I miss her terribly.
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Ash1984 Apr 1, 2019
I'm so sorry. Sending warm thoughts your way.
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It sounds as if she not only can't handle eating, her system is shutting down towards the end. Be kind to her and give her as much love as you can but do not try to force her to do anything - she is too weak physically as well. Make her days peaceful and prepare yourself. Good luck.
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