Follow
Share

I don't want her in a home. Had two surgeries to repair her hyeintal hernia, called fundoplication. That really affected her appetite and the way she eats. She was sent home with a g-tube that was recently removed with the promise that she would drink her ensure 3 times a day and eat better. I have tried everything I can in the kitchen as far as creativity and still she eats a bite maybe and spits it out and this goes on for a long time, however she eats oreo's and candy and ice cream with no problem. Help!

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
I guess as people age their tastebuds change. My parents were health enthusiasts and ate excellent diets until my mother became unable to cook. Due to my mom’s mobility problems my dad started doing the grocery shopping and look out! He buys frozen dinners, donuts, ice cream and nuts. It was actually shocking to me to come in their house and see my mother eating Blue Bell ice cream out of the gallon container!

They got hooked up with a senior lunch program and then I knew they at least got one meal a day.

Now my mom’s in AL and they have an outstanding cook! She’s finally putting on weight and my dad eats lunch with her off and on. He’s fond of the Hardee’s fast food joint near my mom’s AL facility.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

My husband of 63 years has heart problems etc. The one thing I have gotten him to eat well is Jello. I put the clear Berry Ensure instead of water, he loves it and doesn't know the Ensure is in it.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

One thing my husband of 80 plus years would eat was the clear ensure . I used it instead of water in his jello, he loved it.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Talk to her doctor. Mom going through something similar. Try ProStat and/or ProSource. ProStat is a syrup that can be mixed into ice cream, water to make punch etc. ProSource is a powder can be mixed into foods. Hospital gave it to Mom but readily available as a source of protein. Google it or speak to her doctor, he should know where to get it (even a local hospital might be able to help). I know it's hard, going through it myself. Best of luck to you and your mom.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

My mother is going through this right now. Has you mother been evaluated for a swallowing disorder? At home my mother chewed even soft food for long periods of time and I had to remind her to swallow. She swallowed eventually but removed some of it from her mouth. After a recent hospitalization for a urinary tract infection, she was transferred to a rehabilitation center for physical therapy. The dietitian there put her on a pureed diet. I assumed that was because the staff could not spend 2 hours watching her eat or feeding her as I did. I still bought chopped food that I prepared, hoping seasoned food would help over their bland food. I even pureed bananas, bought puddings and added honey to food because she always craved sweets. Still she ate less and less. Two weeks ago while encouraging her to sip water through a straw, she was strangling. Her sucking motions were weak. I told the on-duty nurse who recommended that she have a swallowing evaluation.The speech pathologist determined that she had a swallowing disorder. It happens to many elderly people. A gastroenterologist concurred and last week she was given a PEG (feeding tube). At 94-years old, I don't expect that she will go back to eating whole foods. It's been less than a week so I cannot discuss results, but she is alive and I know she's getting nourishment.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Me an my husband moved my mom in and her weight was 84 pounds and she is 5'5. That is when we found out she had dementia. She wouldn't eat hardly anything except Hershey Kisses. I started making milk shakes with boost and also the Dr. put her on Megestrol to help with her appetite. I now have her up to 114 pounds and she is eating better. It took me about a yr to get her at this weight. Oh I took her off the Megestrol and she lost her appetite so now she is back on it. I guess that is one more med she will be on from now on.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

My sister and I took care of our paternal grandmother for about four years until she passed in February 2012. She had COPD (never smoked a day in her life) as well as the worst case of rheumatoid arthritis that the rheumatologist had ever encountered. Because the RA took such a toll on her immune system, she was hospitalized 13 times over the last two years of life for pneumonia and various respiratory infections. She was a tiny woman, barely 4'10" and never reached 90lbs at her healthiest.

About 18 months before she died, she spent 16 days in the hospital due to a Staph infection that turned out to be MRSA. Her doctor was always very compassionate but honest with me and told me that it would take a miracle for her to survive the drug/antiobiotic regimen required to treat MRSA. Amazingly, she made it through and we took her home. She weighed 79lbs the day we checked out of the hospital, compared to 83lbs when we checked in 16 days earlier. When we took her home, she had no appetite and on her best days she might force down half of a BOOST. A week later, she was down to 75lbs and my sister and I were both on the verge of losing it because we didn't know how to help her! We were literally watching her starve to death and it was killing me.

The Nursing Director at our local hospital became one of my best friends and my emotional rock during this time (and still is to this day). I went by to see her and vent some of my anger and frustration about how helpless I felt. She told me that she had just hired a nurse a few weeks earlier who had shared a story with her about a patient who had no desire or interest in eating and was wasting away. The patient liked a particular brand and flavor of nutritional drink (BOOST or Ensure and only vanilla). So the nurse went to the grocery store and found that Haagen Dazs ice cream had the most calories and highest fat content of all brands. She bought several pints of it in vanilla and starting making the patient 'milkshakes' with the ice cream, Boost/Ensure and also included a smoothie/shake mix with high protein content. The patient loved them and those shakes saved her life!

So I immediately went to the grocery store and bought everything to make similar shakes for my grandma. While I was in the ice cream freezer section, after I stocked up on Haagen Dazs, I saw some ice cream made by a local dairy and suddenly a long-forgotten memory from 30+ years earlier came rushing back to my mind! My grandma LOVED their Butter Pecan ice cream when I was a little kid! =) She stopped buying because my grandfather had heart disease and shes forced him to eat very healthy, so we only ate things that all of us could enjoy. I grabbed all 10-12 pints of Butter Pecan on the shelf without another thought.

Within two weeks, she was back up to 78lbs and barely topped 80lbs at the four week mark! Ice cream saved her life!!!

In the 9-12 months prior to her death, she lost her appetite again but I contacted her doctor before she had significant weight loss. He prescribed Remeron, an anti-depressant that is frequently used as an appetite stimulant, and it started working within a few days. For the rest of her life, we just ramped up the dosage of Remeron (with her doc's consent, of course) to keep her eating well.

I hope this helps! I know how difficult it is to deal with this situation and you will be in my thoughts and prayers!

Kindest regards,
JasonR
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

Lots of really great ideas, here. When Edna came home unable to eat anything but pureed food, we discovered baby food. Many of them come in tubes you can suck. We made really delicious shakes and smoothies, adding protein powder (Muscle Milk has great flavor) .. anything that tickled her tastebuds. On the other hand, what others have said about aging really holds true, especially after surgery, they have a long comeback period. Be patient and steady, and blessings ..
LadeeC
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Convince your mother that she can have the oreo cookie, a piece of candy, or ice cream after she takes one bite of the meal served to her. I have had experience with elders similar to your mother and I learned the trick of having them convinced that they will get what they want if they perform the way that you want them to perform so that they can get what they want. You know, if the person can do a little simple thing and they feel a grand reward coming their way, then they will do it.
Have your mother eat a bite of her regularly served meal and then she can have one oreo cookie, or a piece of a candy, or even a small serving of ice cream. Do you see what I am trying to say to you? Have your mother do a little something for you so that she can get what she wants. Begin to build into more bites of food for each meal served before she gets another oreo cookie, or candy or ice cream. Compliment her when she does what you want her to do. She will believe that she is outsmarting you when it is the other way around. Am I right?
Alternate between bites of food and servings of sweets. Have her eat a bite of food and then eat a serving of sweet and then back to another bite of food followed by a serving of sweet. Do you see the alternating servings of food and sweets?
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I'd have to wonder if the hiatal hernia repair has slipped or otherwise is not quite right. But, you can live well on a liquid diet if you have to, and protein needs are relatively low, so if enough calories are going in and there is a fair amount of milk protein in the ice cream, etc. (don't switch to sherbert or sorbet!) it might be just fine. I'd let her doctor know about this too though.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Make shakes using milk, yogurt, avocado honey...
strawberries egg whipped in and eaten makes it frothy and has protein, I do not know of anyone that likes ensure on a regular basis...
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

My Dad loves candy, cookies and Ice cream. He would eat so much, he was not hungry for dinner. I got protein bars (Power Crunch at Trader Joes, he likes vanilla)and Strawberry slimfast. He also loves fresh fruit, strawberry, pineapple, mango, banana. I make pancakes using a protein powder scooper, with 3 eggs, 2 scoops bisquick (or switch on scoop to protein powder) cinnamon vanilla. Pour to top of blueberries in a flip pan. serve with cut up bananas, maple syrup, or whip cream or yogert, and butter. The pancakes are his favorite. I like the ice cream shakes with protein idea also.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

as we age, our taste buds wear out and the ones that stick around are the one for sweet things. Perhaps you could make her some smoothies with protein and other supplements in it. She may like the sweetness, and they are a little thicker so they are sometimes easier to swallow. This may be a start and hopefully sooner rather than later you can begin regular foods.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Sorry got to laugh at the ice cream and oreos, let her have what she wants, shes 83 !
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

SoozieD you can't change what you can't change. Nagging gets you nowhere which you have learned well - good for you - less stress on you. Just love her and tell her so, warts and all. 99 is a pretty good age to be living independently and her personality has everything to do with that. Keep on keepin' on. Blessings to you and the quality of life you are providing for her, even if she does not realize how lucky she is.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Don't do what we did with my mother - worry and nag, worry and nag and drive yourself crazy, because you can't make a person eat if they don't want to. Maybe the doctor can give her something to increase her appetite, maybe not. (nothing worked with my mother.) People of advanced age don't need as many calories, and if they won't eat certain foods, provide whatever she will eat - calories are calories. Just make sure she drinks enough ensure to get needed vitamins, etc, then give her whatever she will eat. My mother has been anorexic for 15 years and we stressed constantly trying to get her to eat - to no avail. She is now 99, still living independently, no meds, and never sick, For her - not eating much seems to have prolonged her life. She is skinny as a pin, lies about eating, has no appetite, etc. We just stock her with baby food, ensure, yogurt, bread and sweets like coffee cake, raisin bread, etc. because it is all we can do and it seems to be all she needs.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

My husband did not like Ensure either. My sister loves it - go figure! I could not drink it. A substitute might be the Kellogg's To Go shakes; nutritional and tastes good. I also made jello (red flavors) and instead of cold water added applesauce. Adjust the applesauce for varying degrees of tastes. She could even drink it warm with a straw when it is first. My Mom loved this when she had no taste for anything else dying from uterine cancer. Also, remember as we age, our taste buds don't work as well and the elderly who suffer from dementia or ALZ. especially are affected. I say, let her eat whatever she feels like and don't worry too much. Drinking water is important though, even flavor that with Kool Aid or Peach Iced Tea. I went through this with my husband and some days he would only eat a few bites and say, "You can have the rest of this, I can't eat anymore." And he was not a fussy eater. Blessings, and all good ideas posted here from all the wonderful caregivers. Caregiving is not for sissies!
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Lol you can buy anything chopped anymore now a days or buy a small chopper....I have a pot on the stove right now! I rather enjoy the chopping lol
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I would agree about the soup. Easy to eat and digest. My husband is vegetarian, so I make a lot of vegetarian soups in winter. Very warming and nutritious. Just a lot of chopping!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Sorry meant banana lol
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I agree with the Ensure (I am a nurse who takes care of my mom, she lives with us is 80 years old) especially all the different flavor you can add a baba a to it in the blender or anything with the chocolate flavor as they only taste the chocolate! Yogurt can be added for protein, a good quality ice cream, even vitamins can be added! The main thing is make a blender full and give it to them through out the day not all at once their stomaches are to tiny to consume it all at once and if they feel pain they will not drink anymore! Also a favorite of my moms is home made chicken soup.......onions,celery,carrots, chicken breasts,and chicken stock....cook for an hour and a half shred the chicken.....it's a great hot meal with everything they need in it ! In fact the elderly love soups of any kind and with a little creativity you can get all the nutrition in one bowl for them.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

ferris, I agree, Ensure is not the best tasting, nor is Glucerna or Boost. The Slim-Fast drinks are much tastier and nearly as many calories. Really good over crushed ice.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Have you ever tasted Ensure? I spit it out myself and I don't have an eating problem. Make some smoothies with fruits and veggies that have bananas (sweet), some honey and/or stevia (not any other sweetener), blend and see if that works. Anything with a milk component or thick like that is not good.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Shelties are wonderful dogs .I'm glad the nursing home will allow him in. Pets are such a comfort! I think nursing homes should have resident pets. My dog is fun and happy-go-lucky. But the two cats like to sleep with us, one against my side with his head butted up under my chin, the other on my husband's chest. Again, what a comfort.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Just on the lighter side: I've been bringing our Sheltie to the nursing home when I visit my husband; he makes so many of the residents smile and want to pet him. My husband doesn't eat much of the nice lunch they give him, but he'll eat a peanut butter sandwich, and so as not to waste the food, our Sheltie loves to come for the visits and gets a good lunch for himself!
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

My father went through the same thing and we are now going through it with my mother-in-law; post stroke. We have tried everything to get her to eat. We get her anything she asks for but she will only take a bite or two and refuse the rest. We even brought our 5 year old grandson (her great grandson) to visit and he ended up feeding her spoon by spoon. He was thrilled! She however eventually refused that too. What she will eat from time to time is a Wendy's Frosty. At this point, calories are calories no matter where they come from. Be willing to allow her to eat/drink anything that might appeal to her at the time. There are many reasons that can cause a person to lose their appetite but one thing we found with my father was that it was one thing he could still control when everything else was being decided for him. I hope this helps. Hang in there and know that you are not alone.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Unfortunately, it may be a sign that her body is shutting down. My mother's hospice care nurses told us not to force her to eat. The last food she had was a custard my daughter made for her. She lost maybe 50 pounds in the last few months of her life. Shakes with added protein powder are a good idea, if she likes them. Hugs to you.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

I am sorry that you have to go through this. But think of it like this it is food not very nutrious ,but at least there is food that she likes. At her age she should be able to eat whatever ahe wants . We do,I realize that she has health issues. But, if she is content let her eat.example, my momis 97and she did not eat for over fifty days no food, but she drank a lot of root beer. After while she wanted toast and jelly. Be patient and remember to have days filled with the things she likes it makes for a much nicer memory.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Anything can be a shake, so if someone prefers things like Ensure or ice cream, part of it might be the sugar, but I wonder if some of it is the consistency. I had a friend with his jaw wired shut, and he'd blend anything -- including lasagna. It actually tasted pretty good, but the big thing is that, if it's the texture, there really are a lot of things you can blend.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Give her milkshakes, real ones if she will drink them. Give her whatever she wants and don't press her to eat. Her body is telling her it doesn't want food. I know this is hard for you, harder for you than for her. Know you are not alone in this and we are praying for you. Bless you for being there for her.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.