Mom stopped cooking. Any advice? - AgingCare.com

Mom stopped cooking. Any advice?

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Mom has decided she is "not cooking"...Dad loves her cooking but I think he has spoiled her by taking her out to eat ALOT. Anyway...I think she needs to cook to stay "aware' of things etc. She has been getting "forgetful over the last 3 years but can do bingo fine and gets out almost daily. She just is not motivated to do much of the things she LOVED like stitching and cooking. Should I cook for them or encourage her to cook..Dad won't cook..he never did and he is soo very sad about Mom not wanting to prepare meals. Help !

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Cathy; One of the things that I noticed early in my mother's cognitive decline and eventual diagnosis of dementia is the ability to analyze the reason for things. She can't tell us where it hurts, just that "I don't feel like myself"--that means anything from a broken hip, UTI or pneumonia! If mom is saying she doesn't want to cook anymore, there's probably a reason, but you're going to have to observe it for yourself; eyesight, lack of ability to follow steps of a recipe in order, it could be almost anything. Good luck!
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Pam, that is pretty much what I did with my husband Coy. He had a few specialties he was known for. The first year he had dementia he wasn't going to make his annual fruitcake, but then he perked up and wanted to do it so I arranged for him to do many of the steps in his wheelchair. He continued to make his matzo ball turkey soup nearly to the end, but with major "help" from me.

I really love this approach.

It does take more time than simply making the meal yourself, though. And it may not solve the issue of regular weeknight meals. But it is a great way spend quality time together, if Mom likes it.

Coy liked feeling he could keep up his traditions. Mom, on the other hand, seemed to have no interest in cooking after she got dementia. Fortunately she retains a healthy interest in eating, but it is just fine with her to be served her meals.
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I would cook WITH her. If mom made Christmas cookies, I kept an eye on the oven. I would check off ingredients. I would pre mix the cuccidatti dough for her, pre grind the fillings for her. She would taste test and judge the filling. She would roll dough until she got tired. Then I would roll and ask "Is that OK?" That way she did the easy steps, but still felt she was in charge. She would frost a few dozen and next day frost some more. And when she served them up, I let her take the credit for them.
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It could be something as simple as your Mom is just tired of cooking. I always hated to cook so I've been that way since I was 21 :P

I always marveled over those who could look in their refrigerator, look in their panty and come up with a 3 course meal.

The fact that your Mother also no longer wants to doing any stitching makes me wonder if she is having issues with her eyesight? When was the last time she went to an eye doctor and had her glasses changed?.... or if she never wore glasses, maybe she needs some now.
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Great ideas garden. I agree. Mom may be losing her taste and energy for meals and just doesn't feel like cooking. That doesn't mean she doesn't mind reheating or making something simple.

Does dad help? Does he portion and put leftovers away? Clean up the dishes? Or just walk away from the table like he always did? Mom may be just tiring out and tired of the 3 meals a day thing. That happened to my mom as she got into her 80s. My dad did cook in the end...but made a big mess that she was left to clean up. Nowadays she only eats cereal, maybe a sandwich and rarely cooks. If she does it is simple meat and small potato or something she can microwave since dad passed. She eats the same stuff with little variety.

I still cook and I try to freeze portions of beef and gravy, mashed potatoes, spaghetti with sauce, soups, cake, etc into single portions and label. When I visit, I take a cooler with the labeled items and put in moms freezer. She just has to microwave and it gives her something homemade but in small portions so she doesn't have leftovers to deal with.

Maybe you can consider for your parents.

Also you mentioned about stitching and cooking but those are solitary activities -- maybe she is needing more outside stimulAtion with others than just with your father.

Would they consider going to senior center for lunch daily? Dad could get the home cooked meal and variety, mom gets a break and eating in company of others.

Maybe you can consider coming over on a weekend and you and mom prepare some meals together and then dividing up for both households.

I wouldn't worry about it if they are happy and dad isn't nagging her about it.
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CathyGo, like your mother, mine has dementia. We were all relieved and thrilled when she agreed to stop using the stove and only microwaved leftovers from her meals-on-wheels dishes. The risk of forgetting a pan on the stove, spilling hot contents, leaving the oven on, etc. become a worry when one has dementia. While she lived alone we brought her homemade food like soup to warm up or deviled eggs to eat cold, to supplement the delivered meals. Then she moved into my sisters home, and from there to a nursing home, and never cooked again.

If it is still practical and affordable I love that your parents go out to eat a lot. It gives them time together, some social stimulation, and probably some leftovers to heat up later. I took my husband (dementia) to eat at his favorite places as often as I could afford it. It was wonderful to hear him say, "I haven't had a French Dip in years! This is great!" (even if he'd had that last week). And most of his meals were "the best I've ever eaten." I wasn't jealous because all of my home-cooked meals were also "the best I've ever eaten."

I see that Dad has mobility issues. Can he still drive? If/when going out to restaurants becomes difficult, does your town have delivery service for a group of restaurants?

Even if it weren't for her impairments, I think it is acceptable that Mom wants to retire from kitchen work.

Dementia is a strange disorder. My other can still score cribbage and complete crossword puzzles, but she can't remember if she had lunch a half-an-hour ago. If your mother thinks she shouldn't cook (probably expressed as she doesn't want to cook), I'd trust her on that.

Dementia changes things dramatically.
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Has there been a recent change in her mobility or cognitive skills? She may realize she doesn't have the ability to plan meals and/or stand at the stove and doesn't want to reveal that she's no longer comfortable with this activity.

I think it's normal to narrow the scope of activities as people age; it takes longer for them (and I should add myself in that category) to do things, so they narrow down the list of activities to more pleasurable ones that they can handle.

You might try cooking a Sunday meal and asking your mother to help with some aspect - peeling carrots, potatoes, punching down the bread, and observe whether she seems confused about what to do. If she does, you have your answer.

It doesn't sound as though they're homebound, so Meals on Wheels might not be an option, but I believe that some senior centers do have in-facility meal programs.
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