My Mother is down to 86 pounds and will not be here much longer if this continues. Anyone else dealt with this? -

My Mother is down to 86 pounds and will not be here much longer if this continues. Anyone else dealt with this?


We are not going to engage in force feeding or IV supplements. She has dementia and spends much of the day sitting due to previous fractures, and not understanding that she cant walk unassisted. She lives in her own home with 24 hr private care. I live 3,000 miles away and visit every two months. She eats more when i am there since I cook her favorite food, and she is generally of better spirits when I am there. Just wondering if others have dealt with this and how they are coping accepting the obvious.

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Stay in touch with her caregivers and her MD. Marinol may help with the appetite. Yeah, it is hard to watch a parent get like this. You know the body is slowly shutting down. Just keep her happy, send flowers and candy. Let family members know they should visit her more often. Every minute counts.
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I think the fact that you can only visit every 2 months is part of the reason she eats better for you and seems to perk up when you are there, she perhaps would refuse to eat for you as well if she had you there 24/7.
You don't mention if she has other supports that live closer to her, if so what do they say? I agree that continued weight loss will contribute to her demise and something should be done about it if she is not in the end phase of dementia. It would help to know WHY she is not eating, and if the cause can be treated.... there can be many reasons from depression to swallowing problems to poorly fitting dentures.
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I went through something similar with my dad in the last few weeks of his life. He had dementia and couldn't understand why he couldn't get out of bed--even when every time he tried he couldn't stand on his own. That is a hard time to go through--for them and for you.

Why are the private care not cooking her favorite food? Their job is to do what is necessary for her, not what is convenient for them. (Sorry if that sounds harsh, but I went through more than 20 caregivers who were useless. lazy, or worse and have no patience for them.) I finally found two wonderful people who took amazing care of my dad, including some really creative ways to get him to eat. Can you provide the recipes for the food she likes? If so, I would call the agency and ask why the caregivers are not preparing those foods for her.

Having said that, there will come a time when she just won't eat. The last few days of his life, my dad didn't want anything to eat--he would even spit out anything either I or the caregiver managed to coax him to get in his mouth. Not knowing your situation, it's hard to know if this is a natural progression of the disease or the caregivers not making enough of an effort.
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Another thought - is there someone such as the caregiver who could prepare your mother's favorite foods? If not, can they be ordered from a local restaurant?

Boost, Ensure and other supplements may be able to help stabilize her weight, but I'm also wondering if there are other medical issues involved.

I'm not familiar with specific activities for those with dementia but there are a lot of posters here who do have experience with it.

I'm wondering though if something as simple as playing music which your mother likes might help - music and art therapy are important activities in treating aging. Perhaps the caregiver could create specific music times to help break the monotony of your mother's day.

If she can get out, with assistance of course, she might be able to attend some of the art therapy classes in various jurisdictions. Or she might be able to go to a senior center and interact with other seniors.
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I'm confused - your profile states that you're caring for your mother and living at home. Could you clarify?

Clearly your mother improves when you visit. Are you the only relative or are there others living near her who can visit? Are there friends, church acquaintances who can visit her? There are also senior groups who specialize in socialization.

You might check with the senior center in her community to inquire what kind of home socialization programs they have. Even if she gets Meals on Wheels, she'll see different people and that will help.

Perhaps lack of socialization is one of the keys to her decline. Even with 24/7 private care, she might benefit from more companionship in addition to the nursing care.

Did the previous fractures not heal correctly, or wasn't the therapy successful? If this situation could be improved, it would probably increase her sense of mobility, especially if she can still walk with assistance (looking on the positive side).

What activities are done with her by the private care?

Do you or other family members call her on a regular basis, send her cards, let her know she's not alone?
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