Mom is not eating much these days. Any suggestions how to handle? - AgingCare.com

Mom is not eating much these days. Any suggestions how to handle?

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Hi all for the last few days mom does not want to eat much. She will eat breakfast and have some fruit and take her meds. After that she does not want anything at all no snack and wont eat lunch or dinner...(My mom has always been a good eater even at 95!) I have been through this before, but it just does something to me. I start to think maybe a bladder infection ( she wears depends and that bring up another issue getting her to change them.) I said we got two cases mom we can change them no problem and most of the time she will go for that. I cant get her to go see the doctor or even her day program the month of October she went every Wednesday her only day to go ....I was so happy that she wentand got of the house. We have a very small group of people that we have contact with and I think that has something to do with her moods she can be very mean at times and well ....There is some dementia there and she uses a walker and has a ostomy bag ...I had to learn how to clean and change this had hearing aids and will tune you out if she does not like what you are talking abput lol. I was only going to talk about her not eating but I just kept on typing so I guess I needed to vent. And I did not mention that I wear ALL OF THE HATS. And I am taking a online coure for medical coding and I am half way through the course...I study when she goes to bed. I welcome any commets/ suggestions that any one may have to say about this post. thanks much god bless and have a great evening.....Purplerain :-}

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Your post indicates just how concerned and taxed you are by what is obviously your excellent care giving of your mother. As a registered nurse and gerontologist, I wanted to address the appetite side of your question. It is important to understand that as you age, your appetite naturally decreases for a number of reasons. Most obviously and mechanically, there could be poor dental work causing discomfort. There is also a decrease in taste buds making food not as tasty and attractive as it was before. Furthermore, dietary restrictions such as low salt and low fat cut into the tastiness of food. Elderly people also have been known to grab what is easy rather than what is nutritious because it takes too much time and energy to prepare proper meals. You are right to suspect an infection because the sudden loss of appetite you describe. It could very well point to some sort of pathology and blood work at the doctor would be required for a diagnosis. You also mention that she can be ill tempered at times which may also indicate that some elements of depression, which is widespread among the elderly, might be a contributing factor. In addition to ruling out or treating any infection, making the food more enticing with herbs and spices to replace some of the loss from lack of salt and fat should help. Small meals consumed several times a day might be more palatable than the usual three squares they have had all these years. It is important to be very selective about the foods chosen and stocked in an elderly person’s home. Since they eat so sparingly, every mouthful should be as nutrient rich as possible. Anita K. M.P.S., R.N.
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Before my mom entered the final stages of Alzheimer's the doctor said to let her eat anything and at any time she wants, just so long as she eats. But those days of your mother eating like she used to are over even if she's okay. Older people eat less and less generally.
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Purplerain, my mom loves her sweets. She would eat donuts and pies all day long if I let her. We found that some of those things were causing some severed diarrhea so we backed off on the pies.
We will often ask my mother in the early afternoon if she is hungry and wants lunch and she will say no. Then I'll say something like "why don't I make you a half a turkey sandwich" and she will say, sure I'd like that. For some reason if I ask her if she is hungry she will say she isn't but 5 minutes later she can be asked again and say she is. I'm not sure if it is the dementia or if she doesn't know that she is hungry. So, we feed her lunch and then she eats well at dinner, but very slowly.
We don't give her any snacks throughout the day because those would only be cookies that she wanted. They are okay occasionally but we are still concerned about diarrhea flare ups.
There are so many foods that she can't eat now that I'm wondering if one day she will just say she doesn't want to eat.
I think that all of this is trial and error. Try variations. Ask her at different times of the day. Keep going on if you or she can. Best to you.
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reddoglives, as for little Red. the solution is a bellyband. A belly band is a cloth band that you can put a women's maxi pad inside of and when the dog lifts it's leg it pees on the maxi pad and not on your furniture. These can be purchased on Amazon and other online places. Google "dog belly band" and plenty will come up. Then buy a package of women's maxi pads from the drug store and this should solve the problem of the dog peeing in the house. We use them when we travel with our dogs because for some reason they love to mark hotel rooms. They don't mark at home just hotel rooms.
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Reddoglives, we have waterproof protector over the mattress, and we have one of those 3x5' waterproof pads underneath the fitted sheet. That way she can't feel it against her body and really doesn't know it is there. We have a couple of those so that when mom does soil the sheets we can pull that off with the sheets and replace them all. Your mom might not like the feel of the pad so put it under the fitted sheet and see if that is okay with her.
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Red have you tried pee pads for the dog? When my mother went into a NH a year ago I inherited her little dog, Sue, now 4 and house clean sort of. My mother would take the dog for a walk in the afternoon if the weather was nice. Other than that Sue went on pee pads or the carpets. I have a large backyard and a middle aged black lab adopted in April. Sue will go outside with Ash and they've both learned "Go hurry up" but I keep a pee pad down all the time anyway as I doubt she'll ever be totally clean. I read that using pee pads teaches hem it's ok to go in the house but if devil dog is going indoors anyway and is blind the smell of the pad will encourage him to go in that spot.
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Sounds like you are doing the right stuff, it just does get overwhelming. My mom hated me asking/telling/suggesting she empty her mouth before putting in more food. She did seem to tolerate being told her "swallower was broken". There are some incontinence pads that claim to hold lots of liquid, check out the catalog Independent living. Take the dog to the vet, see if the peeing is a signal that the dog is done with living. If the vets says it is time, have her write a note or tell mom, and give mom a week to say good bye. Tell mom the dog will wait for her on the other side. Again, it sounds like you are doing the right things. See if someone can give you a few days off. There is respite care or visiting home health plus a caregiver for during the week. Then you go some place nice and don't even think about home.
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Well when my mother-in-law stopped eating at 87 and the home brought in a priest to give her the last rights, I decided we would go every day to feed her, I know that the West Indians have a very nourishing drink called Irish moss, we went there and fed her everyday she lived on for a further 21 months on Irish moss, you can get it in different flavors, peanut is quite nice.
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My mother also doesn't like to eat very much. Also in her 90's, she's been facing her own set of health issues over the past 6 months, some of which have her worried . Her primary care physician prescribed mirtazapine, which is a mild antidepressant with a side-effect of increasing appetite. The next time you talk to the doctor, you might want to ask if depression could be partially to blame for the lack of appetite.
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Part 2 I would like to give all of us caregivers a great big hug for all the work that we do everyday for our loved ones it is not easy. I will try to get my mom to the doctor asap and as always be watching for any changes . thanks again and god bless you all Purplerain.....:-)
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