What do you do when parent with Alzheimer's doesn't want to eat? - AgingCare.com

What do you do when parent with Alzheimer's doesn't want to eat?

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My dad was always a good eater! For the first three or so years after his diagnosis with Alzheimer's he did okay in that department. But over the past two or three months he has slowly begun to eat less. My mom gives him his supper on a small plate (not the big dinner plates anymore), and he usually leaves something, sometimes up to half of a meal in the evening. He'll say he's not hungry. After he pushes the plate away, or if I'm there at the time and I ask him to eat a few more bites, he'll sometimes eat a little more. More recently he's become very adamant about not eating everything, saying he's not hungry and leave him alone about it! It makes Mom very sad because she's a great cook and he's always loved her cooking. At noon he usually has a sandwich or a small microwave dinner, and he still manages to leave something uneaten. Is there a time where you just give in a say okay, you don't have to eat? If he says he doesn't want any lunch, should we accept that? I know there comes a time when and ALZ patient doesn't want to eat, but my dad is still very healthy (aside from the ALZ difficulties, mentally and physically).

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Have you checked for depression? Some antidepressants cause weight loss, but others cause weight gain. Does he get exercise, which might stimulate his appetite?
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Ours went through a phase. we made shakes some with ice cream
some that were like orange julius' ingredient list includes: orange juice, yogurt with the live culture, honey, touch of molasses, egg, strawberries for fiber.
Put it in a blender. Because of the egg, it has to be prepared fresh each time.
it did bring her back to life.

She our 86 year old drank them (every body said boost or some such packaged drink) and nibbled food. She went to 95 lbs. we were frightened that her kidneys and everything would shut down, but this worked.

we her and I started cooking food that she used to eat, she developed her appetite back.
I like the idea of the Mirtazapine...we were looking for something like this too!
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You haven't mentioned the age of your father, but my parents in their 80s, perhaps beginning in their late 70s, started eating less. They would often share entrees in restaurants. At home, she stopped making the large meals...meat with two or three sides...because they easily would "get stuffed" and feel miserable.

If your father loses a lot of weight or you notice where he isn't eating much in total for the day, then there is reason to be concerned. Doesn't sound as though that's the case currently. From what you've explained, his eating behavior is age related, not alzheimer's.
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In the geriatric unit I worked on we had great results with Megace. It is a liquid appetite enhancer that your doctor can prescribe.
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Excellent suggestons Jeanne. My husband was going thru same thing....not hungry, not eating everything. I tried the grocery ad in front of him, telling him to circle anything that looked good. No luck. Doctor put him on depression medicine, Mirtazapine. A side effect is increased appetite. It worked great for him. For a while he was even a little more alert! He takes just half a 15mg pill a day. And he eats whatever I put him front of him....about 95% of the time. Sometimes he is just not hungry. But it is a big improvement in his eating.
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Thanks again for more comforting answers. Dad is on Exelon patch and levodopa/carbidopa, as well as Seroquel, so some loss of appetite has always been expected and has been the case in a minor way. He has just recently begun not really wanting to eat a lot. Breakfast was always a good meal for him, but now he'll leave half...whether its eggs, oat meal, or even pop tarts. He has loved sweets the last few years but now those are even becoming something he doesn't eat all of, if at all, even ice cream. He does have a snack at 2:00 each day, normally a glass of strawberry Nestles Quik in milk, along with a cookie or two. Some days he doesn't want that. I've suggested to my Mom that she do away with the snack for a while and see if he picks up eating at supper.
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we ran into food issues that lasted several years, people suggested nutrition shakes, pills, etc.
For our 86 year old, she wanted control, always a slow eater to begin with, she said she had no appetite and if we forced her she would throw up.

To get her nutrition in without knowing it, we made a weird version of orange Julius,
orange juice, milk, yogurt, strawberries, honey, drops of vanilla 1 egg and she sucked it down like a shake. The egg can not be stored so it has to be made fresh and served. The container used was one of those bullet style blenders.
she lost weight from diarrhea from exelon, and siblings who left her alone so they could go to work, when they took her for a visit etc, she went from 123lb to 95.

When we got her back from assisted living, we gave this every morning sometimes evening as a snack for 3 months, her appetite did come back, combined with (she in years past showed me how to cook the foods she eats) the foods she normally ate, schnitzel, spaetzle, etc, she returned to eating, she now eats well and weighs 112lb. with no commentary. I wish you well.
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My FIL went through this and, in retrospect, it was the most upsetting to his family of all of his end-of-life phases. Everyone seemed to zero in on it as being the primary cause of everything. "If only he would eat" they all kept saying. He, on the other hand, was only tormented when he would try to get down a few bites to make one of his kids happy. It looked like pure torture.
Of course, if you can spark his interest in favorite foods, that would be ideal (for him and you), but I'd be reluctant to add a prescription drug for someone who has a terminal condition if the purpose of that drug wasn't to relieve discomfort.
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The more my Mom doesn't eat, the more Ensure I give her. She drinks that stuff like crazy. RIght now, we are going through a spell where she is off the Ensure and back on food. Any thing you put in front of her, she will eat!! With her, you never know what to expect. I'm guessing it is part of the disease. Best of luck to you!
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All great suggestions and some new ones for me to try. I experience this on and off with my mother. She loves breakfast sausage and cereal and bananas. So, I give her as much as she wants in the morning, she really really likes breakfast, so I make it a big one. Juice, bananas, cereal, toast, coffee or tea, and her beloved sausages. I talked to her doctor about the sausage he said give her what she wants it is fine for God's sakes. I just offer this major breakfast, and offer smaller meals, snacks, half sandwich, whatever she wants throughout the day. She will always eat cake, donuts and ice cream. She drinks loads of water and I just offer a variety of things as opposed to a formal sit down afternoon or evening meal. Also, is he on any new meds? I know that carbidopa and excelon can cause appetite loss. It is a challenge for sure, we doubt ourselves and feel guilty over eveything and anything. YIKES.
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