What to do when your parent is in memory care unit and refuses to eat and withdraws?

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This is difficult to watch, but unfortunately, it is not unusual. You don't say what stage of dementia is involved or if the person was just moved into the unit. If there was a recent move, this behavior could be caused by confusion and depression, along with fear. It could also indicate illness such as an infection. If the person is in late stage dementia, this may be a sign that he or she is beginning the death process. A doctor should be alerted so that the patient can be checked and you can have your questions answered.
Take care of yourself, too.
Carol
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My husband has advanced dementia and was recently in a rehab for 11 days due to pneumonia and a UTI. The medication he was given to treat his illness made him ill and would throw up and have diaherra. He wouldn't eat even when I begged him and tried to force him. Once I brought his favorite foods from home that he started to eat a little and once the medication was finished he was 100% better and eating like himself once again. I also think being away from his normal surroundings made him stop eating along with just not feeling good. The Dr. came in the day I was to take him home and said he wanted to keep him another two weeks because of the bacteria he had and I said no. Change the medication and I will take him home. That has been 2 months now and he is doing terrific. So, medication, being away from home and illness all can cause their not wanting to eat or refuse to eat. I am a fan on insure and I offer him food, fruit, protein, cookies, etc. all day long. Some times he tells me doesn't want anything but if I wait 5 minutes, he eats what I give him. Good luck and I hope this info will help. Every day is a new day and some better than others but we can only do our best.
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Nutrition and hydration are important in maintaining a person's physical well being. However, a person with late-stage Alzheimer's may have difficulty swallowing food and liquids. This may cause aspiration into the airway and lungs and eventually, pneumonia. Here are some suggestions to help the person eat and drink safely.

Provide a quiet and calm environment

Serve meals away from the television and other distractions. If the person can continue to eat at the table, keep the setting simple.

Allow adequate time for meals

Consider serving smaller meals more often – do not rush the person or force him or her to eat.

Seat the person comfortably

To aid digestion, keep him or her in an upright position for 30 minutes after eating.

Adapt foods to the person's needs

Choose foods that are soft and can be chewed and swallowed easily. If the person can no longer eat solid food, mash or puree it in a blender. Consider bite-size finger foods such as slices of cheese, tater tots and chicken nuggets. Check with your physician to see if a supplement, such as a multivitamin or high-protein drink is needed.

Encourage self-feeding

Give the person cues such as demonstrating eating by lifting the spoon to your mouth. Or get the person started by putting food on a spoon, gently placing the person's hand on it and guiding it to his or her mouth.

Assist the person with feeding if needed

Offer food or liquid slowly and make sure it's swallowed before continuing. Avoid putting your fingers in the person's mouth, in case he or she bites down.

Encourage fluid intake, if end of life is near they know it and it is not uncommon for them to refuse food and fluids. But make sure that they are able to swallow, consult her Dr. Best wishes to you.
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This just recently happened to my mother, she had dementia, and was very combative, disoriented and hallucinating. We had to take her to a lock down unit across town, she quit eating and drinking and when they brought her back to the group home she was in, I was told she was in the process of dying. She passed 4 days later. I miss her so much and still can't believe she's gone. It all happened so fast. My heart goes out to you.
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Idydi,

My heart goes out to you and my sympathy on the loss of your mom.

When someone stops eating and drinking it's often the beginning of the death process as Carol said.

Don't force feed. If your parent is hungry the parent will let you know in some way. People always seem to want to make the person eat. If the person is dying they don't need to eat.

Fluids can sometimes feel good to someone and be soothing. If they won't drink try a wet washrag. If the person is sleeping put the washrag on their lips and let the water just drip into their mouth. Unless the person is unconscious don't put the rag into the mouth because they could bite down and get your fingers. I know if I were in a deep sleep or unconscious I might want the feeling of cool water in my mouth. Tiny ice chips would help too. If your parent is awake and they refuse fluid don't force them. Place a cup of water nearby if they choose to drink.

When my dad was dying he was in a deep, semi-conscious sleep and I told my aunt that he had stopped eating and drinking and she shrieked, "He needs a feeding tube and an IV!" I had to laugh. They don't need feeding tubes and IV's. When someone stops eating and drinking many times it's the beginning of nature taking it's course and there are explanations online regarding why someone stops eating and drinking.

Not knowing how long this has been going on with your parent it's hard to say why they're not eating and drinking.
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Just experienced this with my father. He was 90, in a retirement community, but in the healthcare unit. He refused to go to this community twice. When he fell in December 2012 and suffered a compression fracture of this back, he could not return him to his house. We had to move my Mom, too, because she could not stay by herself. He did not qualify for AL with my mother. He was devastated. After a while he refused rehab and got worse in all aspects. He was absolutely unhappy. He quit eating and slept all day. He was ready to go and did. Hospice had been called in. All of us were gathered in his room and a prayer was offered to encourage him to continue functioning but that night, he died in his sleep. It was like he saw that all of us were together and he knew Mom would be taken care of.

His memorial service was this past week, so many people came. As you say, he had a wonderfully full life. He is in a much better place with a body and mind that function perfectly and in no pain.

It is hard to watch this but it is good to know what is happening to his body as mentioned above. You sound like you are a very caring child. Continue to talk to him, even when he seems asleep. The hearing is last to go. He will appreciate your sweet spirit in these last days and hours.
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Thank you for all of your responses. My Dad was accepted as a hospice patient. He is able to stay in his memory care home and they will feed him. He is under 24hour survellience due to frequent falls. The doctor told me he has one or two months left to live. The only good aspect of this news is that he lived an extremely active full life.
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Birdfan

My heart goes out to you. You have a good attitude and I know this is difficult for you. Hold onto the memories.
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My MIL of 90 with vascular dementia I am pretty sure she's in her last stages, she can't communicate nor walk she has bad contracture on her right side her leg is permenately crossed over so to change her is a terrible ordeal because she does not like opening her leg to get her depends on and off. My question is that lately she's been refusing to eat and fights with her daytime giver. Dr. Said we can't force her if she doesn't want to eat. Also we have been noticing more that on some days at least 2 or 3 times we have found she is totally dry! Last week she did that on Friday finally at around 3 when the c.g. Told me we decided to put her on commode she finally went put very little trickle it just seems she's going less and less. Her urine seems ok in color and we give her plenty of liquids and she has no way of communicating if she's not feeling well.
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