What can I do when my mom is not wanting to eat?

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Practially every morning and evening when it is meal time mom conveniently has the "My tummy is sick" or "I am having an anxious attack" or "I am not hungry" this is like clockwork, maybe once a week we can have a good day where there is no friction in the meal department. when this happens I become very frustrated and mom starts asking the other caretakers Why is he so mad at me, refering to myself, mom can not seem to understand eating and drinking is a daily necessity of life, I have told her before and she does understand this, if it doesnt get better to the nursing home we go, where they will feed you thru tubes. Mom gets all anxious and say Nooooo!! I dont want to go there. and I know she doesnt she wishes to die at home and I dont blame her. It is not hard taking care of an eldery one if there is just a bit of cooperation on both sides but I am not getting it. I have tried everything from not telling her when a mealtime is to ignoring it to feeding her and nothing seems to work.


H E L P!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU

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Trying, Magic Cups were used for dysphagia patients at the rehab center. That's how we learned about them.

I did some research but couldn't find any that were sold locally, although there are still some stores I haven't tried. They can be ordered online though, or directly through Gordon Foods. If you google "Magic Cups", the second hit is one source for ordering.

Dad said they were just like ice cream but they didn't melt, so they provided a way to enjoy that delicious treat w/o worrying about melting to a thinness level that dysphagia patients couldn't handle.
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My My My,
I didnt realize this was such a sensitive subject............
I appreciate all of your answers and can relate some directly to my non-Understanding mind I thank you all and kinda know where I need to make changes,
1. I need to control my frustration
2. Like garden said i believe use small portions or piece during the day
3. Sweets yes she love sweets and she gets her Ice Creme daily as much as she likes
4. I do use Ensure she like those too
5. as far as being sick, she gets UTI's regularly even after I have increased diaper changes to 3-4 times a day wet or not.
otherwise she is in good health all considering we found out that it is more Vascular Dementia, which is my understanding it is like pseudo dementia. more like convienient forgetfullness. I have to give mom 300% credit for doing as well for as long as she has. she drove up until 89. she is now turning 93 in a month and a half.
Hey GardenArtist I just noticed this thing about Dixie Cups what are these things I may try those.
Once again Thank you all
I am putting these suggestions to good use
R
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JoAnn, I'm wondering if what looked like ice cream could be Magic Cups. They look something like the Dixie Cups of my youth (several hundred years ago), but are thickened and don't melt like regular ice cream would. My father loved them.

I checked with some stores and found that Gordon Food stores will order them, but the minimum quantity is 48 1 oz. cups, for about $48.
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My Mom wouldn't drink because she thought it made her poop. Your Mom will dehydrate without water and they get loony when that happens. Have you people drank boost and Ensure? Not that great. I could get boost into Mom but only the chocolate and it had to be COLD. I notice in the home them giving Mom something they called icecream. I think it was frozen Ensure.
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Why do you expect an old lady with dementia to understand basic nutrition? She is not going to learn new stuff or change her behavior.  It will just get worse.

You'll gain nothing by griping, threatening and scolding her. Threatening a feeding tube?! I'm sorry, but that's nuts.

I know how hard this is and I know your a good son or you would not be asking advice on this forum. But the punitive approach does not work with dementia. Please read more about dealing with dementia on this site. It's tough. I get mad at my dad also, and eating is an issue with him but a little trickery and fibbing gets much more done than threats.

My post may seem a little rough on you. I mean no disrespect. But take a deep breath and think about this.
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Dementia affects EVERY aspect of the patient's life. Try small portions of easy to eat food and beverages that add nutrition and calories. My Mom had bowel issues so I gave her dan-active drinks. they were small, flavorful and I told her they were a new drink for her to try. She loved them (and they had calories for the small size of it.
You can have her swallowing assessed by a speech therapist. Ask the doctor to order it. If it is a swallowing issue, things like processed foods, no straws etc may be recommended.
I know how challenging this all is (I was primary for my Mom with dementia and very involved with MIL and aunt). But the patient can't help their behavior so I had to learn how to handle things with them. You can watch the Teepa Snow videos on youtube and check out the Alzheimer's site for ideas on how to work with these issues.
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I know you are doing your best. I wonder if its her meds affecting her appetite. My dad suffered from this after his stroke. I would leave cans of Ensure and Boost for him but nothing would tempt him. Maybe have the doctor review her meds and see if that might be it.
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You come across like a mother with a picky toddler, don't get so stressed out around meals, rather pay attention to her total daily intake. Lots of older people really do feel stomach discomfort Every Time they eat, and for a variety of reasons their appetite diminishes or disappears altogether. Yes, it can be hurtful to prepare a healthy meal for your mom only to have her reject it, but that is really your issue, not hers.

As already suggested, keep on hand the foods she does eat and offer them in tiny portions at meals and throughout the day. At this point in her life you are worried more about calories than balanced nutrition, so if she chooses to live on apple slices and yogurt or tea and toast so be it, but look for ways to add in a little extra like buying greek yogurt vs regular or offering lots of butter and jam on the toast. (This is just an example, go with what works for you) Smoothies are a great way to add in both fluids and calories, drinks like boost and ensure were invented for this purpose.

Something else you brought up I can not let lie, would you honestly subject her to a feeding tube if she chose not to eat? I made the choice long ago to allow my mother to stop eating if she adamantly refuses, and although I have had to place mom in an NH I am still of the same opinion.
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If there are no eating disorders, swallowing issues or other medical issues, I think maybe your mother is just exercising her desire to be uncooperative, to assert some control over her life at a time when it's probably been and continues to decline.

And you're the first person in line who she sees as "controlling" her life, even though that's not what you're doing. I think we young'uns don't always realize how threatening it is to have personal skills and abilities decline, and continue to decline.

Sometimes I envision that process in terms of programs I've seen on climate change. A polar bear is on an ice floe, the ice is breaking up early, and the bear stays on the floe as it becomes more separated from a land mass and continues to float. I think sometimes seniors feel like that - isolated and drifting away from people and from the control they've had over their lives. I'm not even old yet but I've experienced that frequently.

One thing I've seen is that eating and meals sometimes become less desired, less of a necessity, and aren't high up on Mazlow's heirarchy of needs. Eating isn't necessarily a social occasion, some foods can't be eaten, and the whole experience isn't as pleasurable.

I don't think this is conscious; I think that needs are re-prioritized as we age and eating sometimes slips down lower on the scale, until someone is really hungry.

I've seen this, including a response of "I don't know" when asked if hungry. Perhaps they don't sense hunger...I don't know myself how this aspect factors into aging other than unfortunately my own appetite hasn't decreased - I just don't feel like bothering to eat.

So, try something different. Maybe you can have smaller meals more often, or snacks of a portion of a meal in breaks throughout the day. Or make mealtime something to look forward to. Put a CD of Mom's favorite music on, add some fresh or artificial flowers to the table, make the kitchen or table a place she enjoys going to.

Follow the meal with something she really enjoys doing. The goal is to change meals from something that has to be done to something that provides special enjoyment for her, outside of the eating routine.

Grammy made a point that I want to follow up on. You might also try Ensure Plus or Boost Plus as drinks in lieu of meals if she just won't eat. They've been recommended to help stabilize and/or counteract weight loss in the elderly. My father now enjoys them and has a few daily.

You mentioned "other caretakers".... do you have private duty help in the home? Could they perhaps be more successful in getting her to eat? Seniors do tend to play off their family in favor of caregivers.
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I can tell from your post, you have posted before, however it is tough to keep track of everyone's LO ;-) Can you please let us know what your mom's health issues are? Does she have any demensia, or is it something else?My mom has stage 7 Alzheimer's, and for us a feeding tube will never be an option. 

Do you think your mom has any issues with swallowing? Maybe start by requesting a feeding evaluation by a speech pathologist to rule out any issues. Are there any special treats your mom really likes? My mom liked ice cream so I would say, "let's eat a bit of dinner then we can have ice cream!"  I know that many older people crave sweets...I have heard that putting syrup over the meal works as an enticement... My mom never needed that, but I hear it works for some. Make healthy smoothies and try to have her sip on those all day. Is your mom losing a significant amount of weight? Maybe get a check up and have the doctor tell her she needs to eat... My mom used to do things if I said, "remember the doctor said to..."

Never let her know you are frustrated...it will just make it worse. Walk out of the room, regain your composure, and try again. I know, easier said than done but you can learn to do it. Good luck!
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