I am frankly astonished by the amount Ninny (93 with vascular dementia) can eat. She was less than 100 lbs for 90 years of her life. She is now 115 and rising quite rapidly. It was a bit funny until it became both concerning and, well, EXPENSIVE. Here was what she ate yesterday:

11am - 2 bowls of cereal with milk, back-to-back, a piece of toast with margarine, a cup of tea
12 pm - another 2 pieces of toast with low-sugar jam and 2 cookies
2 pm - a hot dog, a bowl of chicken noodle soup, another cookie
4:30 pm - a sandwich with deli sausage, sandwich spread, cheese and mayonnaise, half a dozen Vinta crackers, a second cup of tea
5:30 pm - half a rotisserie chicken breast, macaroni salad, potato wedges, a dinner roll, 1/2 glass fruit juice. She left some chicken and wedges behind and said she was full (it was a lot of food)
7pm - came and helped herself to yet more cereal, claiming she was 'starving'... again

This woman eats WAY more than I do, and I'm 6 1/2 months pregnant, LOL. I have no idea where she is putting it all. She was never a big eater before the last 3 months or so. I am wondering if there might be something we've yet to diagnose going on here, or if she is perhaps doing it out of boredom? I am going to ask her doctor tomorrow, but wondered if any of you might have any insight or an opinion on this in the meantime. She does have diabetes and receives a daily injection of slow-release insulin, which I know increases appetite, but this seems absurd. She is going to eat me out of house and home!
I don't really want to restrict her access to food but I'm starting to think I might need to (although it will certainly make her mad). Is this a common thing - is there a chance she's just eating a lot because she forgets she has eaten recently? Even then, would she not be stopped by a feeling of fullness? Any and all suggestions are appreciated.

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"I wasn't looking for critique on what she eats (I know it's bad but I can't really do anything about it right now - that is another thing I am asking her GP for help on tomorrow, though), more just ideas as to why she eats so much. I know a lot of the food I listed above is empty carbs, but isn't that still a heck of a lot of food for a tiny old woman to go through?"

Your question has been asked and answered.

I don't understand why you can't do anything about what she eats. Does she buy the food or do you?

If you take away the junk food and replace it with good food, she'll have nothing else to eat.

I'm beginning to think all the helpful answers were just a waste of time.
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Well darn. I originally posted my question in the Alzheimer's/Dementia forum, which I guess the mods didn't like (even though I believe it's dementia-related). It's kind of null in this forum. I wasn't looking for critique on what she eats (I know it's bad but I can't really do anything about it right now - that is another thing I am asking her GP for help on tomorrow, though), more just ideas as to why she eats so much. I know a lot of the food I listed above is empty carbs, but isn't that still a heck of a lot of food for a tiny old woman to go through?
She has the eating habits (and approximate range of palate) of a 5 year-old. I have tried, but largely failed, to get her eating healthier things. Since she has dementia, she can't make informed decisions about food, but still fully believes she is independent so she won't let me help her. She turns up her nose at almost every piece of healthy fare I offer her (including eating around her proteins at dinner most of the time and wasting whatever cut of meat I've served her). Trying to get her to eat salads or fresh veggies is like beating my head against a wall.
If I intervene when she's getting food and ask her if I can make her something else (or, heaven forbid, refuse to let her have something) I get cussed out and she tells everyone that I starve her and goes on tirades about how she should be living alone, doesn't need me breathing down her neck, etc - it's a whole new can of worms, and it's not a battle worth having at every single meal. I know that hot dogs and deli meat aren't great, but they are protein, which is more than I can get in her most of the time.
Anyway, I'll just ask her specialist tomorrow and see what she has to say. Even if you translated all of that food into proper nutritious meals (that she won't eat... but let's pretend she did), it would still be a crazy amount of food. Please feel free to disregard this topic!
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First, let me write that I'm not intending to be critical but I've been thinking about the diet approach for Ninny as well as you and your unborn child.

I hope you aren't eating the same kind of diet as Ninny eats.

It's hard to tell just from one day's meal description but it doesn't seem as though there's a lot of home cooking taking place.

Some of the foods such as the salad could be homemade, but I just have the impression that most of the foods your Ninny eats are packaged, prepared or deli foods. That stuff is usually sodium-heavy and has preservatives plus various chemicals. Not good for anyone to eat on a regular basis.

Again, I'm not intending to be critical, just to offer that the food selection doesn't seem to be good, wholesome home cooked meals.
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You need a refresher course in what diabetes is all about. How about some protein during the day and less refined carbs. Check the foods she's eating for their sugar content. That stuff is being quickly processed through her system and she needs foods that are slowly processed by her body. By all means talk to her doctor, get some updated testing done and attend a course by a registered diabetes instructor. I'm surprised that you think bread and cereal is expensive, especially when you compare it to what she should be eating.
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Also, from 7 pm to 11 am the following morning is a long time w/o food.

She also could just be nervous; eating can sometimes calm people down. Does she have activities to do during the day?
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Check the sugar levels of all that cereal she's eating. That pattern of a lot of cereal really stands out.

I think these issues should in fact be shared with the doctor. Some adjustment might be necessary to the amount of insulin she takes. How long has it been since she's had a good physical as well as fasting glucose tests?

I would also give her something more substantial than cereal and toast for breakfast, even if it is standard fare for many folks.

Try a chicken or tuna sandwich, or something with protein, and include protein in the meals before supper.

One caveat: I'm not diabetic and don't know specifically what balance of nutrients is optimal, but it just stands out that she's eating a lot of cereal and toast, with nominal protein until evening. I don't understand though why she craves sugar after a good meal.

I'd also eliminate the hot dog and deli sausage unless they're preservative free. Usually those kinds of meats contain sodium nitrite.

Also add more greens to get vitamin B into her system.

You might ask the doctor if she could drink Boost or Ensure, something like that, as they're supposed to contain a balance of nutrients.

Definitely don't restrict her access to food. I think whatever the underlying cause is is a medical issue, not just overeating. If she was pigging out on candy bars all day long, that would be a different story, but from what you describe she has definite need to eat something. I'm just not sure it's the right thing for her.

I wouldn't think it's a memory issue; from your description, she really needs more food - perhaps just a different mix of foods.
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She eats all day long, has gained 15 lbs, and you don't want to restrict her access to food? You don't have to starve her, just change her diet.

If you're concerned about her diet stock your fridge with healthier options. No hot dogs, breads, soups.....I understand that kind of stuff is easy to fix but you have options that are just as easy for her to prepare. What about a bowl of grapes? Instead of 2 bowls of cereal which are packed with sugar she could have a hunk of watermelon. No canned soups because they're loaded with sodium which causes fluid retention. Instead encourage her to eat a small green salad with diet dressing or a cup of yogurt.

This is something that you have total control over. If you want her to stop putting on weight get some healthy stuff in your fridge.

There may come a time when she's not mobile. The heavier she becomes, the more difficult it will be to transfer her.

Is she on a any new medications that may be affecting her appetite?
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