My mother has lost her interest in food and is having difficulty swallowing due to her dementia. Has anyone been faced with this situation? - AgingCare.com

My mother has lost her interest in food and is having difficulty swallowing due to her dementia. Has anyone been faced with this situation?

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a feeding tube has been suggested. She is not bedridden yet. However, she is in a nursing home. Has anyone been faced with this situation?

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Hi Oldmaid, you are posting on a very old thread (7 years!) so unfortunately many people will not see your question.

Do some reading on this site and on the web about dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), there are many good discussions about how to modify food to make it palatable.

Meat is often the first thing to cause difficulty and the hardest thing to modify, you will need to invest in a good food processor and totally puree it like you would baby food, then serve it as a sauce or gravy or incorporate it into dishes like spaghetti, shepherds pie, your favourite casseroles or even meatloaf.
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There is a product called " Thick-it" that you can add to water, o.j. or any liquid to make it nectar-like thickness.
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Blitz it up to a thick soup. Still has all the goodness but easy to swallow. You can blitz almost  anything.

Fish and rice cakes.  Held together with a little egg or potato but still kept soft. Serve with creamy mash.

Good luck.
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Hi,
I found this site looking for meals for my 90 year old mother. I will pray for all of you and your parents. I know that we all need it. There are a couple of recommendations that I would make. My mother too has problems swallowing. She loved her orange juice which seems to be too acidic and water right after waking up makes her cough even though she is thirsty. I searched to find some kind of juice & the speech therapist suggested things being the consistency of nectar. I found pear nectar in the Latino Section of the supermarket. She loves it & calls it the nectar of the gods. It is thick and refreshing. It has all sorts of good things in it as well. I also give her chocolate milk with her lunch and dinner. I sneak in Carnation Breakfast Essentials High Protein Rich Milk Chocolate which also has vitamins etc and tastes like regular chocolate milk she can't taste the difference. It does not have the metallic strange taste of Ensure. It comes in bottles in the cereal section of the grocery. Ask for it. Mother also likes chocolate pudding ( I try to get the one with the most calories-Hershey's & of course whip cream), Cozy Shack cinnamon pudding with raisins has become her favorite. I have mother at home with me, & I bought an air mattress overlay which cost about $300. The air mattresses are so expensive (thousands of dollars) but this has done the trick. She is bed bound and needs to be lifted from the bed by the wheel chair van man. I can't lift her, but she goes to mass on Sun., the doctors, and gets out of bed to get her hair done at home every two weeks. She has not had any bedsores & has been this way for at least 7 years. The good care of the nurse's aides & the mattress overlay may have prevented them. Do check the air mattress overlay it comes with an air pump which goes right over the foot of the bed. It is very easy. My question is does anyone know of recipes for meat or fish that would be easy to eat & delicious. Mother
doesn't seem to be able to eat meat- she chews it & spits it out. She wants steak, lamb chops, etc... but I don't know how much she is getting out of it. I have tried hamburgers and meatloaf, and it seems the same way. The only fish that she says she likes is sword fish & I have seen her spit it out after chewing it as well. Any ideas? I teach school & have the nurse's aid give her Stouffer's Lean Cusine Comfort Foods like Turkey, sweet potatoes & stuffing. She likes it, but she leaves the turkey lately. THANKS FOR ANY HELP!
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Loss of ability to swallow is an eventual stage of dementia and/or Alzheimer's. It can also be associated with numerous mini-strokes. Many dementia patients actually have vascular dementia; they have had many small strokes that are too small to be detected on an MRI. Depending on which part of the brain is affected, they may lose their swallowing ability.

The best solution is honey-thickened foods - no thin liquids. My late father had "Ensure" with every meal to boost his caloric intake and prevent dehydration. Everyone I've talked to regretted having a feeding tube inserted - which is why I never recommend it for late-stage dementia patients. Incidentally, late-stage cancer patients also lose their appetite despite the fact that the advancing cancer is consuming tremendous nutritional stores and calories. The anorexia (loss of appetite) in these situations is a sign that the body is winding down.

Bedsores will eventually happen to anyone who is immobile and bedridden, despite the best of care. Christopher Reeve, the actor, died from sepsis from an infected bedsore - and he probably had the best nursing care of any quadriplegic on the planet.
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On Dec. 3, the feeding tube was inserted into my mother. She is back in the hospital with an infection around the tube and in terrific pain. I made the decision because she was refusing all foods and hospice was the next step. Not being ready to let her go, I made the decision. I am now on a journey that I would prefer not to take.

I was so thankful for all the responses to my posting and surprised that I received so many. This site is really helpful and informative.
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I use Carnation Instant breakfast instead. It is cheaper than Ensure or the store brand Nutrition Drink. And has almost the same amount of nutrition. Not sure about the sugar content but at my mom age that really does not matter.
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I'd just suggest that you read the ingredients of Ensure Plus or any of the canned/bottled protein drinks. Corn oil? High Fructose Corn Syrup? Hmmm.
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I am having the same problem with my Dad due to dementia. The doctor did prescribe Megace to increase the appetite. We mix him protein drinks and he drinks with a straw - seems to go down easier - but still he chokes some. Oatmeal, eggs, soft stuff that does not have to be chewed (but still swallowed). You are not in it alone - I felt like I was starving my father to death right before my eyes....be informed and do your best. Feeding tube the last resort. Check out the muscle in the throat - that weakens too like other caregiver said.
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I am so grateful that at 90 my mom still has a great appetite. I try to change up meals daily and make them easy to eat. but nutritious. However at least when the time comes that she has eating issues, if ever, I will know where to look for answers.
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