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My mom was diagnosed with vascular dementia in october 2015, but as is the case we are sure she had it much longer before that. In the last 6 months she went from being fairly independent, to now fully incontinent, in bed 85% of the time (other 15% spent in a recliner). She has reached a point where she has NO appetite. She drinks water, and will occasionally have a bite or two of a banana. I can see her wasting away. She sleeps a lot but when she is awake is pretty alert. How much longer can she go on like this? It is heart breaking to watch. My dad died about 2 years ago and had not only COPD but cancer of the esophagus. He wasted away as well before he died since he struggled to eat from the cancer. It is heartbreaking to watch. Has anyone else had a loved one not eat, but still drink water?

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So sorry Huddle, Mom is finally free from her prison.
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So sorry for your loss. (((((Hugs)))))
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sorry for your loss.

I guess I could say it is fortunate it was so quick...but, I am sure to you it was eternity.
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Huddlo, I am sorry for your loss.
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Huddlo,

So sorry to hear of your loss and your mom's pain

May the love of your family and friends ease your grief
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Oh my goodness, you only posted this question a week ago. I'm so sorry for your loss. (Hugs)
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My mom passed away today at 12:15pm. She is free from the dreadful hold of dementia. I will miss her terribly.
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Gentle, caring hugs for you huddlo
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God bless, huddlo

You are a treasure to your mom and you're in our thoughts and prayers
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I'm sorry to hear this, Huddlo. Please look after yourself, too. Update us when you can, and come and unload here if it would help.
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Update - my mom was admitted to hospice care today. She hasn't eaten in three days or had much to drink in two. She is now on comfort care only. She sleeps almost all of the time now as well. So it looks like she is nearing the end of her dementia journey.
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My mom is on mirtazapine, an antidepressant that is also sometimes used as an appetite stimulant, so that may be part of the reason she continues to eat. I think for you it is easier in a way as she seems to have made it clear she just isn't interested in eating, whereas for us mom says no but will eat as long as I encourage her. I've read several threads about how long someone can last on very little food or just fluids and the answer seems to be quite a while, but it all depends on many different health factors. I'm glad you are able to bring in hospice for guidance.
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Malnutrition is usually a diagnosis that will qualify for hospice so don't give up on that. If the weight gain is legit it is probably from retaining water so it can't be relied on. If possible keep a record of her weight. You can do it every day if it is easy but otherwise every few days is fine, or not at all if it is distressing.
If she wants water give it to her otherwise keep her mouth moist with swabs.
This is the hardest time as you watch a loved one in the final stages of life.
Just keep loving her and offer comfort. Tell her you understand how tired she is and reassure her the family will all be OK when she passes. Blessings
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Huddlo--
I am sorry for what you are going through. There is not much to do but be there for your mom. Offer her water or liquids as she wants and don't push. You said she can't swallow, so you don't want her to choke....we fed daddy popsicles the last week of his life..then he didn't even want that. Mostly, he wanted morphine drops and peace and quiet. Hospice helped us ease him gently out of this world into the next. It was heart wrenching and beautiful at the same time.
Prayers for you. I'm glad she's at peace, that makes it easier for all.
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Thank you everyone for your answers. I have talked with her doctor. They are very aware of what is going on. We tried the ensure/boost drinks and she refuses it, and if she does try it, spits it out. I keep snacks around her all of the time and occasionally she will take a bite. But not very often. We have tried her favorite fruits, popcorn, sweets, etc. just trying to get calories if some sort. She just has no desire to eat. We have tried to hand feed her also and she just pushes it away after a bite or two, if she even takes that. I know that part of her Vascular Dementia can reduce appetite. I just don't know how long something like this can go on? Usually I see where someone refuses both food and rink, but not just food. She seems calm and not in pain, and content with how things are though.
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I'm so sorry you are going through this. I'm also sorry to say, this does sound to me that she is telling you that she is nearing the end of life. My mother also had dementia, her's was due to Parkinson's disease. I don't know if it differs from state to state from when you can put them into hospice, but I was able to put my mother into hospice care when she entered a certain level of dementia, where he doctor thought that she was in the latter phases. She stopped being able to walk one day and she basically really lost it mentally. They took her right into hospice and explained to me that there was hospice for dementia patients, it didn't necessarily mean that she was going to die within weeks or even months. However, she did continue to decline. Just three months later, I had moved her from her memory care facility to a nursing home due to financial reasons and after three weeks, she stopped eating and drinking. Because she was already on hospice, we received the support at the nursing home. The week before she stopped, she would only eat soft food, and then she would only drink and then she refused to swallow. I brought in her all time favorite food, coffee yogurt, thinking it would be no problem, and she just let it fall out of her mouth. I knew then. I told her it was alright and just held her, it was one of the most painful, yet in a way most poignant moments of my life. It took her a week to pass away and it was the hardest week. My parents are divorced and I have a brother, who was basically not involved in her care at all. He flew up for 2 days, but left before she died. My husband was my rock. My heart goes out to you and I would call her doctor and see if he/she can contact another hospice, because this doesn't seem right and your mother needs to be made comfortable and you need support.
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Huddlo, I'm so sorry for what you're going through.

You seem very well up on what has been happening with your mother, so I'm sure you'll understand that all aspects of brain function, including appetite, are vulnerable to the vascular dementia.

You could try the ensure/boost, well-chilled, and see if your mother cares for it. My mother enjoyed Actimel, too, which is drinking yoghurt more or less. Your mother is swallowing all right, is she, without difficulty? As long as there is nothing wrong mechanically, offer her favourite treats. Forget balanced diet - whatever she fancies enough to try is all that matters.

I do understand that for you this is both heartbreaking in itself, and a painful reminder of your father's last months. I think the only thing you can do is look at this through your mother's eyes; and if she is content - comfortable, not in pain, not frightened, wanting for nothing - then so must you be.

It is very hard, I know.
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Have you talked about her lack of appetite with her doctor? If she can physically eat and drink but doesn't because she has no appetite then you may be able to supplement her diet with high calorie drinks like boost or ensure. My own mom has had no desire to eat for several years, she says she feels full, but when finger foods are placed in front of her she will usually finish everything. I have also had to spoon feed her main meals because she would never finish on her own, and she seldom refuses to open her mouth to eat. That said, I would never force her to eat if she adamantly refused, pushed the food away, or if it caused nausea or stomach upset.
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Yes we are looking at hospice care. One person from hospice care came to my home to evaluate her and stated she didn't meet requirements as of yet due to her alertness when she was awake, and that he couldn't state that she would be terminal within the next 6 months. I was floored. She was in short term rehab for 20 days following a stroke and according to their records she gained five pounds between the hospital and the release from rehab. However, she was weighed in just a gown and the weight was from a hospital bed scale. They told me then the weight may not me 100% accurate. The rehab weighed her in her wheelchair with clothes on, plus she is retaining some water, so I don't think she is gaining weight from food. She barely eats. Yesterday she had two bites of a banana. The day before she had nothing. She refuses anything we offer. But still asks for water. I feel alone and hopeless. My only sibling, my brother, died suddenly of a heart attack last year so I am all my mom has left. My husband helps as much as he can but he has to do a lot to take care of our girls who are young and active in sports and stuff. I just hate seeing her literally waste away. She has lost 25 pounds since January 5th.
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Dear huddle,

I'm so sorry to hear what is happening to your mom. You have a right to be concerned. Please take her to the doctor. And possibly review her care and see if she needs hospice as Jeanne has suggested. Try to access as many community supports as necessary during this difficult time. Its not easy to see our beloved parents get to this stage.

My dad also stopped eating and drinking. I took him to the hospital. He was diagnosed with heart failure. I wish I had known this sooner. I did not realize he was dying. Otherwise I would have tried harder to make him more comfortable at home. But I didn't know how. I should have tried to access hospice care.

Thinking of you. Sending you all my thoughts and prayers.
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This is so very sad.

Are you considering hospice care for your mother?
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