My dad has dementia and is refusing to eat, any suggestions to coax him to eat?

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My dad has been in the hospital for 3 weeks he has sudden onset dementia he has not eaten much for 3 weeks. He thinks he has eaten and is full so won’t eat or drink. I’m afraid he will starve to death. Any suggestions appreciated.

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Thank you everyone for your suggestions, I did find something he likes and will eat mostly fresh fruits especially grapefruits. Since he's lost about 40 lbs. drs said to feed him anything he wants. He took his pills with applesauce and he ate a full magic cup. I was so happy I cried, I'm hoping he starts eating a little more. I got an update on him today he ate a few bites of his lunch. :) I'm praying this keeps up.
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Agree wholeheartedly with Grandma 1954. I am only hoping and praying that I lose my appetite when (if) I develop dementia. When my husband had a stroke he could not swallow, and we had documents stating that he didn't want a feeding tube. He did not appear to be hungry, and he received mouth care in hospice. We might not have chosen this path if we had not watched my stepfather on a feeding tube slowly lose his mind and his eyes got wild (he could not speak). If all life has to offer is lying in bed making your loved ones miserable and using all of your resources and theirs just to keep alive, it doesn't seem worth it to me. Let nature decide.
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Why does he feel full if he hasn't eaten? Is he still in the hospital? Get in touch with one of his doctor's and inquire about this.

Sometimes constipation can make someone feel full. Or gas.

Try to figure out why he won't eat or drink. In the meantime try giving him protein shakes like Boost and Ensure. Encourage fluids. Try something other than water like Gatorade or Sprite.

Don't try to force him to eat. Think how you would feel if you weren't hungry and someone tried to force you to eat. It's very unpleasant and it doesn't help. Offer him a cracker and see if he'll take it. Maybe some jello. But if he still refuses, take the food away and try not to chastise him. Still, I understand your concern and frustration.
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Lioness, when was the last time your Dad saw a dentist? A tooth that is hurting will make someone not want to eat, and it could be that Dad doesn't want to complain about the tooth ache.

Plus as we age, we tend to lose our sense of taste except for really sweet items. My parents use to load up on ice cream, pies, cakes, cupcakes, cookies, etc.
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Can you, when you visit him eat a chocolate pudding (or similar sweet). Say yummy and mmm lovely then offer him a mouthful?

Good luck, hope it works out soon.
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He’s in the hospital. Drs don’t know what else to do. Being transferred today to a rehab/long term facility. He appears to not be hungry cause he believes he has eaten already. And whatever is going on in his head is apparently not letting him feel hungry or thirsty. Hopefully the geriatric specialist will be able to help
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In addition to what ff said I have heard that putting syrup on the food helps for some people. Are you trying to hand feed him? My mom started having issues controlling her hands fairly early on. Much luck
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My grandma was in the hospital and the drugs she was on made her not hungry. I have noticed, UTI meds, pain meds, dementia drugs, diabetic drugs, etc have changed the taste of things and make her not hungry. Through trial and error, the doctor and I have found a combination that works and doesn't upset her stomach too much. I agree constipation causes my grandma not to be hungry, when she's sick and her sugar is high (she's a diabetic) she won't eat and isn't hungry and sometimes she just doesn't like what I fix. She is so used to be able to fix what she wants when she wants it that honestly she just doesn't like what I fix sometimes and cannot express herself.

I agree about finding something that was a favorite for him or something soft and sweet. Offer ice cream or pudding or even mash potatoes or whatever the comfort food was when he was eating. Sometimes time of day makes a different. Talk to his doctor and make sure it's not a medication change that's causing it or it's not sickness that's causing it. UTI's are brutal. Hopefully it's a change that can fix things.

For my grandma, when in the hospital she won't eat and she didn't eat much in rehab. She said the food was bland and was gross. In fact she lost 40 pounds in 2 months while healing at a rehab facility because she refused to eat even while doing her PT 3 times a day. When she came home she put back on 10 pounds which the doctor was happy to see. You can even try those shakes. They aren't ideal but it will help with the nutrition. Good luck. Hope you find the answer.
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I give my Aunt CBD oil which in most cases increases the appetite. In addition to helping with her appetite, she has also become less paranoid, sun-downs less at night and is more calm.

She recently broke her hip and required a partial hip replacement and I am appalled at the nurses in the Neuro recovery area who just push in her tray and do nothing else. I have had to practically live at the hospital and she is not getting her CBD oil which is making her hunger less and less every day.

I meet with the hospital patient advocate today and will discuss encourage to eat verse force to eat. Every nurse says they cannot force her to eat but I have seen absolutely no encouragement to eat and not a single nurse willing to just sit with her to get her started. Hoping she comes home today and I may be doing PT here in the home or bring her to a facility. After visiting those places I realize she will just be left in a bed all day with minimal actual therapy. She is better off at home.
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I also agree with Grandma1954. I just lost my mother who also had dementia, but was still pretty functional. All us children helped, and took turns to keep her at home so I'm telling you this from an up close, personal perspective. It was a huge learning curb. No one talks about dying so we're all clueless about what to expect. The first thing we noticed that told us something was wrong was her loss of appetite, which occurred after a heart procedure closely followed by a hospital admitting UTI from which she never recovered.

Unbeknownst to us, along with her end stage appetite, taste buds also start to go. We'd cook her favorite things in a desperate attempt to get her to eat, but she would say it didn't taste as good as before. We were all hurt by her complaints. My brother was the worst as he associated her lack of appetite to not getting better so would get mad at her, and force food. Lots of protein! It was terrible, but done out of misguided love.

After doing research, I stumbled on what Grandma1954 stated. My siblings didn't believe me even though I showed them the research, and only came around late in the game. Poor Mom. Admitting your loved one is dying is so difficult. Her lack of appetite was just the beginning of a natural decline. A change in taste buds coincide with this symptom. She wasn't trying to insult our cooking when we cooked her favorite things, what we cooked really didn't taste the same. At this stage, eating does not equate to maintaining strength. As the body starts shutting down, it requires less and less. We stopped forcing her to eat, and everyone was much happier, especially her since we were actually making her sick with food her body could no longer process. Instead, we kept it as healthy as possible, and gave her all the foods SHE wanted: fruits, ice cream floats, chocolate, seafood salad... Gravitating towards sweets is common because this is the last taste bud to go. The doctor gave her an appetite stimulant, but it had no real effect. Her change in appetite began in March 2017, and was never the same no matter what we did. We started in home Palliative care in April 2017. She passed 2 February this year. I guess the bottom line is find out the cause, but do not force him to eat. Let him guide you. As we discovered, as usual, Mom really did know best. Respect what his body tells you. Don't be afraid if his change in appetite is related to the end. The end is just a new beginning. Embrace the time you have left.
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