I'm having a hard time getting my mom to eat. She turns her nose up to everything, but ice cream. Should I try baby food? - AgingCare.com

I'm having a hard time getting my mom to eat. She turns her nose up to everything, but ice cream. Should I try baby food?

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I read I should concentrate on calories. She can still chew ok, but has a hard time swallowing. I make her smoothies. I'm running out of ideas.
And another thing, she sleeps all the time. I wake her up but she just falls back to sleep. I don't know if too much sleep is ok or bad.

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Raven1, I know the heartahce of well-intentioned attempts - I talked to the docs about trying pioglitazone for my mom, on the bsis of it helping congition and helping control diabetes better than just more and more insulin that made her crazy hungry especially for sugar, and the fluid overload did her heart no good. A different doc figuired this out for us and tried a different med, Januvia, that actually worked without side effects for her and the sugar packet stashing thankfully, finally went away. Some people don't think our elders are worth working out a specific diagnosis on, but I'm thankful we both found ones who cared and thought enough to figure it out and be of real help.
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I have to tell you I am experiencing a problem right now that began as Mom's appetite going away. She just began eating less and less and I wondered how can she live on so little food, so I contacted her doctor and asked for a refill of Megace to give her back an appetite. I did think about the fact that our bodies begin to shut down and possibly this may be what is happening but i tried the Megace.

Mom was rushed to the hospital with a very rapid heart beat and pain in the upper chest, back and going up the throat. She was hospitalized for 3 days while they got her heart beat back to a normal rate.

I had told them about the eating and Megace and the fact that when she ate she had bloating and a stomach ache of sorts but none of us put 2 and 2 together. Mom was having a gallbladder attack and it mimicked a heart attack. They increased her heart meds and we are having to pull them back down as her coumadin was way too much and her Taztia for heartbeat had been doubled and now she has swollen feet, ankles and lower legs and gained 5 pounds from water weight. All because I thought she needed to eat and she was not eating because she was getting sick but not telling me what was going on. She hates to go to the doctor and HATES THE HOSPITAL WITH A PASSION, ALTHOUGH I MUST SAY IT IS A BLESSING WHEN YOU NEED IT!!!!!!!!

I have said all this because many times there are reasons behind the behavior we just don't see the full picture. I jumped on something and by increasing her eating I think I may have made the gallbladder issue worse and now I am fighting like a crazy person to correct the matter!!!

Be careful!!!!!
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Sometimes the appetite is severely reduced because the digestion and shutting down to some degree.

My aunt went from eating heartily and really enjoying her food to pushing it away because it didn't taste right. That happened overnight. It turned out she had had two minor strokes in the area that effected her taste buds. The neurologist told me that even unnoticeable TIAs can affect the taste centers and influence appetite. He suggested that you sometimes have to accept an elder with many medical problems eating less and losing weight as the normal course of aging. He didn't suggest, wisely I believe, spending time and effort diagnosing the obvious as with dementia people, it only puts them through more stress and aggravation.
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Soozieq: I just look at food and gain weight and it amazes me that our parents can exist on such small amount of food. My mother had never been a huge eater and she chews each bite about 20 times before swallowing but she has always been thin and she has the best immunity.

I became scared at the loss of her appetite and asked the doctor for megace to give her more desire for food, now however she is having a horrible time with digestion, pain and bloating. I think she may be having another flare up of her gall bladder. This is not what any of us want to see at this time in her life!
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My heart goes out to you. It is so stressful to watch a parent starve themselves. My mother has had anorexia for the past 12 years - and she is 98 and still living in an independent living senior community where she gets 20 delicious dinners every month (of which she eats a few forkfuls - at $20 a meal! And still, we must supply her with more food she will eat or she would definitely starve.) She has never eaten well, or used common sense in taking care of herself. She just doesn't listen, and now with increasing dementia, we have just given up. She is just lucky she has good genes because anyone else would be dead by now. For the past year or so she eats only a few sips of Ensure, yogurt, the liquid out of soup, 1/4 of a sandwich (which she pulls half the meat, all the tomatoes and lettuce out of, no mayo, etc). She might eat a few forkfuls of mashed potatoes, etc but she looks at every plate given to her with horror. When we take her out to eat we get the child menu for her and she still cringes at the amount of food on the plate. She hides most of her food in a napkin and puts it in her purse. Yes, at this point, I've resorted to making sure to stock baby food, mainly the strained meat and fruit so she gets some protein. She will eat nothing different but she will eat some of that and sweets, which at least give her calories and some energy. She has lost ten pounds this year (down to 91lbs) and whether we are there or not, she barely eats and we can't force her. It seems the older one gets, the less appetite and the less taste buds work. We have finally decided after years of worry that we will supply her with stuff she will eat a little of, and if she doesn't eat it, so be it.
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no, but it sounds pretty good - sort of like Italian cream soda, American style :-)

carbonated bevereages sometimes stimulate or facilitate better swallowing too
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This may sound like a peculiar way to try to stimulate appetite but here it is and I'll give you the background in the next paragraph. Mix 2 ounces of regular (sugar) coke with two ounces of whole milk. Sip through a straw immediately while still fizzy. I'm not saying this WILL work but I'm saying it CAN and it MIGHT.

When I was 7 years old, my aunt and uncle went on a road trip do a forested area in Northern California. They came upon a tree felled buy a logging company. A nest of squirrels except for one baby the size of your thumb was killed. They rescued little Sandy, as they came to call him later, but had no idea what to feed him or if they could even save him. They happened upon somebody at a country store who told them this little formula (of course in smaller proportions) and they fed Sandy the coke milk in little bits with an eyedropper. He started lapping it up where previously he wouldn't even lap of water. Soon they added rice pablum to the coke milk and that's what Sandy ate during the time his mom would have weaned him up until he was old enough to eat squirrel food. He was a beautiful, bushy tailed grey squirrel and live to be nearly nine years old, way out living his wild counterparts.

My mom was an animal lover and we used this formula on the rescue of several pre-weaned puppies and kittens as well as a ground squirrel, a couple of chipmunks and even a baby blue jay. They all survived. I know it seems odd but when my mom at 94 went through some phases where her taste buds seems to be working against her (diff to see and understand because she had always been a cook and an eater), I would give her a little coke milk and it did seem to also stimulate her appetite. It couldn't have been the placebo effect since she wouldn't have remembered the past history even if I would have taken the time to try to explain it to her.

Vikki, vstephens, have you ever heard of this?
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Eddie - I wanted to respond to your curiosity about "if you don't eat, you don't get hungry". It's true. I am somewhat of an expert on fasting, being a nutritionist and having done it safely off and on for over 40 years. After about 3 days of intaking nothing but clear liquids, such as water or filtered juices, your body recognizes its not digesting anything and it goes into the elimination mode. That's why fasting is used for systemic cleansing. Not healthy too fast without supervision if you don't know what you're doing however. Too long without protein begin the process of muscle breakdown. You maybe remember Oprah losing tons of weight on Optifast, which was a protein sparing fast, providing protein, sparing muscle. THAT would not have been a CLEANSING fast, however.
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She may need to be on oxygen. I give mom ensure drinks. I freeze about 4 oz at a time in a little ice cream maker that is easy to use. Ensure also has a clear drink that is good. My mom likes it.
Like others say, talk to her doctor.
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My Mother does NOT have much appetite either. I try to make sure she has the things I know she likes... Ice cream bars, string cheese, nuts, and yogurt. When I make things I make sure she gets her share for example I made blueberry pancakes the other morning with fresh blueberries, she ate those well! I think you just have to keep trying. Ensure and Boost are good ideas also.
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