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my mother in law has alzheimers and is bed bound. I feed her but it seems that she has forgotten how to eat. Is this normal? As of now I can put food pureed in her mouth and it sits until I give her a drink then she swallows, anyone else having this problem...

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Yes, my mom is getting to this stage. Luckily I know what it is from taking care of my MIL. Hard to watch and let happen but it's just the way this disease is. Both my mom and MIL hated pureed food. My mom will eat/chew/swallow what she wants but when it's enough she will not open her mouth. My MIL went back to reg. food and ate/drank what she wanted. She would choke sometimes but we knew what that would lead to.....aspirating. I'm so glad she went with a quick heart attack. I hate watching my mom go through this with no end in site for a while. She's healthy with the exception of dementia/Alz.
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As a hospice nurse part of my job is to educate patient's families on the normal decline of body functions such as swallowing, incontinence, etc.. We all live with the common feeling that the ability to eat again is a sign of "getting better" , and it usually is but I've seen family members with the best of intentions literally shoving food into their loved one's mouth. This can, but not always, be more for the family's comfort than the patient. If the patient is able to swallow then it's okay to keep giving food and/or thickened liquids, applesauce, etc. as stated above but causing a loved one to choke on food and ultimately get pneumonia is worse than watching them go through the normal process of preparing for the inevitable. May I add that the digestive system is also declining and consequently less able to process food. Hospice is a good place to get help in diagnosing the problem. God bless.
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goodness so many answers thank you... My mother in law does have hospice and is bed bound... I feed her and follow with nutrition drinks which helps her swallow... I am terrorfied of the whole asperation thing. Doing best I can just hard to watch
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I would definitely contact dr. There could be some other reasons for her not eating but in general yes, unfortunately it is a part of the disease. If she is not ready for hospice there is another option as with my MIL....a feeding tube. As in my mother's case, her caregivers at her facility help feed her. If left up to her own devices she might pick at the roll but with their help she will eat. This is a very difficult part of the journey for all of us. My mom forget one day. I know it's coming and I will try to be ready for it. Good Luck and God Bless
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My Mama also has stopped eating....and it seemed to happen fairly suddenly right after her last surgery requiring anesthesia..which had never been a problem before, but the last time, really sent her into a decline...now totally bedfast, very little, very rare communication, and only drinks ensure, water, and fruit juices now for over a year. She will not even drink unless it is through a straw..the odd thing is when I brush her teeth, for a moment after it is like she suddenly doesn't know how to drink water. (I have to use a very soft toothbrush and use water with just a touch of mouthwash to freshen her mouth, which she seems to like) but when I give her a little water she will start to try to chew the straw... I have found that I can put a dot or two of water in her mouth with the straw and for some reason that tells her brain how to suck on the straw again...the calmer I can keep her and the softer I talk to her, the better she seems to drink her ensure....such a difficult journey....
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My grandma has dementia and as she slowly declined, she stopped eating. Many people with dementia progress this way. If she is bed bound, no longer walking, communicating and having difficulty eating, maybe it's time you spoke to hospice for end of life care. Even if she is in a nursing home, hospice can come in and assist with her care. It is sad to see our loved one decline with dementia and slowly turn into someone we no longer recognize. You can sit with her, read to her or play music, brush her hair or put lotion on her hands-this can be a comfort to her. Speak with her doctor about your concerns.
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My mom had kew body dementia and parkinsons. She ate much better when I fed her at the table in her wheelchair while everyone else was eating. I didn't eat then but just fed her. I used applesauce with every meal. I could give her steak and pork dipped in applesauce and it worked wonders. Mashed potatoes with veggies also worked. She lived those pasta and veggies in the steam able bags. After she chewed food, i sometimes had to remind her to swallow and always gave her the choice of a bite or a drink. The speech therapist said she would make the motions of swallowing but did not really swallow until the third or second motion. I would put pills in her mouth and sometimes she would chew instead of waiting for drink to swallow. I found that telling her what each thing input into her mouth worked better. We knew my mom had an aneurism about 20 years ago and she died from a brain bleed. The last meal she had was steak and salad. I too would feed my mom lunch in her chair but found she ate much better at the kitchen table. Speech therapist consult may be helpful. As for hospice ( which I thought was a godsend) I would talk to your doctor to see if you both feel you are ready for thst. Good luck and God bless.
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My MIL choked on a piece of chicken and got aspiration pneumonia. While she was in the hospital the speech therapist did a swallowing test to determine if there was something wrong with her anatomy. There was not. It was part of the diagnosis of Lewy Body dementia. Her brain was forgetting how to tell the rest of her body to swallow.
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So sorry for you in this situation. I face this as well with my 88 year old mum who has phases of remembering how to eat and not remembering how to do this, or how to swallow - I see these as two different things. My mum has dementia and is immobile - I keep her comfortable (she lives with me) on the sofa with her feet up during the day and I serve her small meals on a lap tray. I notice two important things. If someone sits with her and eats the same food, she will copy and eat. If I put her in her wheelchair and wheel her into the dining room and put a plate on the table with a knife and fork, she will also copy but take a long time (and her portion must be much much smaller than a normal one). If she is alone in her lounge she might sit looking at the dish for ages and sometimes the situation is so bad that I have to feed her (actually spoon food into her mouth). I have had an eating consultant visit the house and one thing she told me was that foods and drinks straight from the fridge and that were quite cold were a good idea to get the swallowing reflex going because the temperature of the food when it went into the mouth sends an immediate message to the brain that something is in the mouth and that sets off the swallowing reflex. I tried this and it seems to work - so for example, whilst I've found that if I try to give my mum her medication with warm tea to swallow the pills, she sits with her mouth full of tea and eventually opens it seemingly unaware that when she does this all the liquid comes out all over her apron, if I give her a glass of cold apple juice she swallows almost instinctively. So I do this with puddings - try opening a tin of soft fruit in its juice or syrup and putting it in a dish in the fridge. I do this and my mum eats it without any thought. I also give her trifle (supermarket I'm afraid) because it's soft and very tasty as soon as it gets into the mouth. This food thing is an absolute nightmare and I really sympathise with you. I think we just have to accept that with these brain diseases, people do eventually stop functioning. Good luck.
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First purée food then a liquid the consistency of Nestor was recommended by the speech therapist for my 95 year old mother wino has Alzheimer's. We did this for several weeks and then she began to swallow easily and now we are back to small pieces of more solid food~ avoiding those needing more vigorous chewing like beef
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Yes, as FF says, they forget how to swallow. It may be time for you to consult with her doctor about getting hospice in. They will do everything possible to keep your mom comfortable and providing just a bit of help to you and lots of support.
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It is very normal for someone who has Alzheimer's to forget how to eat.
https://www.agingcare.com/Answers/alzheimers-patients-stop-swallowing-eating-138218.htm
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