Is it normal for her to be sleeping all day and not eating? -

Is it normal for her to be sleeping all day and not eating?


I recently moved in with my grandmother, whom is 77 years old(I'm 22). She is a diabetic so I have been trying to give her healthy, balanced meals that have enough protein. I have noticed that she is sleeping what seems like all day. She'll go to bed around 10pm and won't get up until 1pm or so the next day, and take a nap halfway through the day. For the past month, she isn't really eating. Say I make her salmon, asparagus and a potato; she will eat half the potato and the asparagus and won't touch the meat. She is not eating any meat! I've tried switching it up and giving her protein shakes with her breakfast... nope! I don't know what to do and her doctor seems to think she's fine. I'm becoming very worried. She is dropping weight like crazy and her mental health doesn't seem too well. I'm so worried.

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Dementia can very definitely have an impact on sleep needs and on appetite and on weight loss.

Do you attend her doctor appointments with her?

"What do you want for dinner?" is probably too open-ended for someone with dementia. "Would you rather have a grilled cheese sandwich or a tuna salad sandwich?" might be as much choice as she can handle. You saw that the grocery store was overwhelming. Too many choices is generally upsetting. Two or three choices is enough to provide some sense of independence without being overwhelming.

With dementia, don't expect a lot of logic. She'll eat meat in a restaurant but gags at it at home. Not logical, but still it's her reality.

My husband would eat the same food day after day. Nothing wrong with that, I guess. It would bore me, but that is not the issue. If Gram likes cottage cheese and fruit, give that to her as often as she wants it.
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I know with my mom that when I ask her what she is hungry for she either doesn't know or isn't hungry at all I have started not asking and just cooking I try to have a well balanced meal for her I also tell her to eat what she can and give her small snacks during the day I have also found that Ensure makes a fruit drink that has lots of protein in it as well as vitamins they taste pretty good and I feel this is a good way to get nutrition when eating has become difficult for whatever reasons. Hang in there and good luck
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I probably should add in that I have tried taking her with me to the grocery store for her to pick out things she would like. She got overwhelmed, had a panic attack and we had to leave. I've brought her cottage cheese and she loves it with fruit some days. I will ask her what she wants for dinner and she shrugs. I ask her different ideas for dinner to see her reaction to them. Meat makes her physically cringe. She covers her mouth like she's going to throw up. I've asked her if I'm not seasoning it right, or what's wrong with it and she says she's just tired of food. HOWEVER, if we go out to lunch, she will eat anything! She'll eat fish or meat.

After asking my mother what else might be wrong with her, she let me know that the doctor believes she does have onset dementia. I'm doing some research on it, but still unsure that is the root of the problem.
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If her mental health seems questionable, I wonder if she has early stage dementia? Weight loss can go along with that, even with good nutrition. Is her weight loss detrimental? My husband lost 40 pounds, but that put him at a good weight. If Gram is losing weight but had excess weight to start with that is less serious than if she is approaching an unhealthy weight.

Does she have other chronic conditions besides diabetes?

What did Gram eat before you moved in?

You could make me a baked potato and asparagus and salmon any day of the week! But does she like salmon? Would she prefer a hamburger? A grilled cheese sandwich? Little cubes of cheese on toothpicks, like appetizers? Cottage cheese? Would she prefer a vegetarian diet, with lots of beans? How about eggs? I guess I'm asking whether her refusal to eat certain things is about taste preference. Creating healthy versions of what she likes best might be more tempting if that is the problem.

Or does she have problems chewing and swallowing certain foods? Is the meat item the most difficult item to eat?

Does she eat eggs for breakfast, at least some days?

I wonder if she is sleeping so much because without eating she doesn't have much energy. Or she is not eating much because without some activity she doesn't need much. Or whether the sleeping and eating aren't related ... or are both related to some other cause.

The doctor thinks she is fine. Have you told him or her about your mental health concerns? Does the doctor know how much Gram sleeps? What does the doctor say about the weight loss?

Both the increase in sleeping and the decrease in appetite could be associated with depression. How does she feel about needing someone to move in with her and take care of her?

I applaud your concern and your attempts to take good care of your grandmother. Please provide some additional details. Maybe someone here will have specific suggestions for you.
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I should clarify -- I didn't mean for the endocrinologist to be your grandmother's primary care physician, but it would be good to get on a good diabetes management schedule and to check for other problems. Your grandmother can keep her primary care physician, though it may be good to change. I'm not too impressed that her present one is saying she is fine despite the unusual behavior and symptoms.
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bleighxo, I understand your concern. This is not normal behavior. I would suspect either blood glucose, blood pressure, medications, or thyroid. I have a feeling that if her doctor is not concerned about her behavior that another doctor may serve her better. I would recommend an endocrinologist, who could do a major blood workup on her to see how her endocrine system and liver are working together. Since your grandmother is diabetic and most likely on Medicare, she is qualified to have a visit every year to a diabetic specialist. Check your local physicians for a good endocrinologist that specializes in diabetes management. It will be worth your time to visit one.
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You have every right to be concerned with the weight loss, sleeping and loss of apetite. If her MD thinks this is fine, he is a total idiot or he's not telling you everything. Keep an eye on her blood sugar levels and insulin dosing. Ask your parents to be totally honest about all her health issues. If you live there, you need to know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
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