Is it a part of dementia to no longer experience hunger pangs? - AgingCare.com

Is it a part of dementia to no longer experience hunger pangs?

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Also think she is forgetting to take some medications. My mother is not eating and tells me she "forgets". She has lost a lot of weight. If I remind her to eat, she gets annoyed. However, she has hypoglycemia attacks when she lets too long go by and that is not good. I tried explaining that she needs to eat regularly. I put pictures ot food al over her walls, I call her to remind her, I sent ensure, but it just does not happen. Unfortunately I am unable to llive with her to oversee this. It worries me, along with so much else. She gets annoyed by my reminders. No diagnosis, and I don't have POA. Brother has POA and is in major denial, I think ... or I have it all wrong. Now she is saying that she doesn't understand what her pills are for? They change colors. Brother fills the vials but does not explain to her. She was hospitalized again ... second time for overtaking one pill and the last time for taking less than needed. He pooh=poohs it when I say "she may be in early dementia. I see so many things, but the others do not. I spend the most time with her so isn't that natural that I would see it/? Also, she tells me how bad she feels but tells him she is fine. So he has ignored me; does not answer any email I send (which is rare). This time around, he did not even respond to an email asking "where is she". I could not find her in the hospital and there was no answer on the home found. She has CHF and "possible" cognitive impairment or early dementia (not diagnoses formally. He has POA and she wants only him for medical visits. Doctors will not talk to me. I have tried. They think she is just depressed and she IS. But she wont take an anti-depressant as she is on so many drugs already and is fearful as she is very sensitive to drug and side effects. I don't expect anyone to have the answer except maybe to the original question in the title of my post. Thanks. If I have repeated anything, I am sorry. I feel really overwhelmed and helpless to help her. I want to but everything I try ... its a brick wall.

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There's great advice here, so I'll only address the hunger issue. When my loved one started with dementia, she lost a lot of weight. We didn't understand why she ate so little. She basically lived off of small amounts cakes, chips, cookies and ice cream. I would make or take her chicken, potatoes, green beans, pasta salad, steak, and pizza but she would not eat it. She just said she would eat later, but later never came.

Even when she first went into regular assisted living she would pick at her food. (They had to go to dining room for 2 meals per day.) HOWEVER, once she went on Cymbalta for depression and anxiety, and got settled into Memory Care unit, she started eating fine. She now has a good appetite, but her dementia has still progressed and she has still lost a little weight.

I believe that the dementia alone can cause the loss of appetite, but so can depression.

I would think that medication regulation might help your mom's mood and help her gain her appetite, but if she refuses to take it, you can't force her. It may be that she is just not thinking clearly and is not able to comprehend how the right medication could help her. If down the road, she is in a facility and others are making some medical decisions on her behalf, perhaps they can get her meds regulated and get her on something that works well.
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Blannie, thank you. I found some relief in what you said. I truly did not cause this, cannot cure it, and cannot control what others think and do. It is one difficult road.
Nana Terrie: Whatever control issues my brother has, I do know that he loves her very much and means her no harm. He simply is in denial. Yes, we have done the Ensure and the water and some snacks are available and I will certainly stock up on more. If only I could get people in to see her. She will not allow it and as she is not diagnosed, as I said earlier, no one can force anything upon her. Thanks once again for everything ... all of you. Very helpful suggestions. Going to use them.
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I manage an Independent Senior Apartment and all to often see what you see half the family knows what is going on the other is in denial. One thing that has not been touched on and may be of help to you, there are two types of POA one is financial the other is medical. The Medical one is implemented when the person is unable to discuss their medical intentions with their doctor. Sounds to me like your mom may need someone to support her wishes if your brother is such a control freak and is just waiting for her to pass. I know that's ugly but it is a sad reality. If she is fully cognitive, she can sign a HIPA release which indicates that she agrees to have you discuss her medical needs with her doctor.

As for her eating, I would recommend to hire a Personal Care Worker or CNA to visit her say daily to make sure she is eating and has taken her meds for the day. Meals on Wheels will provide one hot meal for a minimal price, check in your area if they will also provide a sack lunch type meal for a small additional fee. That is done in my area. Perhaps if someone hands her a warm meal she will remember it's time to eat! I agree with finger foods for snacks and don't forget to keep her hydrated. I recommend buying the 12-16 oz bottles of water and telling her to drink 3-4 a day, if her doctor permits some health conditions limit water intake, you can write the days of the week on the bottles so she remembers what day it is and how much to drink. Hope this helps.
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I would think she's not being purposefully manipulative. If your mom was a great mom and now isn't, I'd chalk it up to brain changes. My mom has no short-term memory. She's still the same basic person she always was, but she has no real problem solving or reasoning ability any more. She knows she has no short-term memory, but will still tell me, "Oh I'll remember that." But she won't. It was VERY frustrating at first, but I've learned I just say OK and then make sure to handle things assuming she won't remember.

Whatever it is, the effect on you is the same, unfortunately. It doesn't make any difference in what it's doing to you. But if your mom truly has some cognitive decline (and chances are she does from either medication or organic changes), you can't hope for her to get better. I now basically have to think for my mom. But my mom doesn't fight me on anything and my brother doesn't do anything (and lives across the country), so I'm on my own in taking care of her and I get to make all of the decisions and assume all of the responsibility. Hugs to you - it's obvious you really love your mom and you're grieving the changes and possible loss down the road. This is HARD stuff!
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Blannie and Pam: I know you are both correct. I must take a break from this. It is really affecting my health now. Just one question: if you are in early stage dementia, are you capable of "manipulating" people" .. her memory is getting poorer as is her reasoning and misunderstanding me leads to more anger at me. So is it HER or the DISEASE? A part of me tells me that this is not the Mom that I once knew and I believe I am grieiving. Thank you ... again.
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Trying2B, If she tells you she is sick and tells the brother she is fine, she is manipulating you. It's called "divide and conquer", where the parent keeps the children arguing among themselves and therefore maintains control.
Your mother sounds like early stage vascular dementia, typical with CHF. I watched my MIL browbeat her daughter, play the guilt card on one son and tell the other she was fine, told the MD she was fine. Support your brother, he seems to have the best luck with her dementia.
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Trying2b, your mom and brother have put you in an impossible situation. And what has it gotten you? Very sick from your description. You have two choices in my opinion. Continue on the way you are and get sicker and sicker, or detach with love until something changes.

Let brother handle more of mom's care. Offer mom options (like switching POA) and if she doesn't make the change, then don't be such a listening post for mom. Cut down your time with her. Let the chips fall where they may.

In so many cases on these boards, a real crisis is required for things to change. You've had many mini-crises, but you're always there to pick up the pieces, so things go right back to where they were before, with you beating your head against the wall.

If mom won't give you POA and brother is intractable and inflexible, then you can either continue as things are (and pray that you're not one of the 30% of caregivers who die before their loved ones) or shake things up on your end. You can only do what you can do. Do you owe your mom your life? Because that's the direction it's heading, based on your comments.
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Thank you Civille, for your post. I have tried to have family sit-down to no avail. I tried also to "mend fences" with this brother and there is no way. There is another brother whom this brother also has no use for. To him we are both useless. I disagree. Eight years this is going on. First five, I was very active. Then got ill. Other brother does all he can as well. Husband shops, I cook, we financially help out and have for many years. We also send in a cleaning woman once a week. We have been there for her for many, many years prior to this and LONG before this "brother" stepped in". He takes her to doctors, and he is there in emergencies which is invaluable, but he is not there for her emotionally at all. Prior posts on this thread explain it all. One very important thing is to be there, to commiserate, to care ... I do this daily. She only tells me what is really going on and with my brothers who have both told her not to talk about it, she tells she is "fine". I can only do what I can do. I feel ready to break at this point because I love her so very much and I feel so guilty that I am not doing enough. I know she loves me. I want to do more. I really don't know what else to say.
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I'm sorry it must be heartbreaking to feel so powerless. Is it just your brother and you, no other sibs? I truly think it is time to have a sit down conversation about your mom's future care, she doesn't seem safe on her own anymore. You will need to mend fences with your brother, as it seems clear he sees you as a meddling outsider. Is there a third party who could act as a mediator?
Do some homework before you begin. Is assistive living even an option given her finances? Is there a facility you would recommend? What kind of homecare might she be eligible for?
Unfortunately sometimes it will take a crisis for things to change, a hospital stay after a fall or medication mix up. I hope you can work it out before it comes to that.
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One thing I might add: she tells me the "truth" and with my brother she says almost nothing. He speaks to her for a few minutes and gets off the phone. She even asks her not to "speak" when he takes her to hospital or for doctor visits. He asks us all to "change the subject" if she compains about all that has happened and is happening to her. To make her depression go away, I guess. I agree and disagree. I think she also needs someone who will listen and try to calm her ... she is very very afriad and agitated all the time. I just don't know what to do anymore. It broke my heart when she asked me to come and take care of her. I want to but am homebound myself. So guilty here.
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