My father has dementia, and eats constantly--day and night. What should we do?

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My father has dementia, he is 88 now. He is constantly eating all day long and at night he eats some more . He is keeping mom up all night. His doctor won't prescribe a sleeping pill for him. What should we do? Hide the food??

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I am also caring for my mother, who has dementia. I hate what this disease has done to her. It is not always easy being her care giver. At first when she started behaving differently, I didn't know what was going on. I found myself getting angry for the way she was treating me and talking to me, but once I started researching the symptoms of dementia; I discovered that she simply could not help how she was acting. IT'S NOT HER FAULT! The one thing I try to keep in mind is that she is the woman that gave birth to me and took care of me when I couldn't take care of myself. She is still my mother even if she can't act like it anymore. I am determined to care for her until it is physically impossible for me to do so any longer. I bathe her, dress her, cook for her, and clean for her. I don't have any help. It seems impossible to get help for her currently because of the way her medicare works, or doesn't work. However, I am determined to make the most out of a seemingly tough but not quite impossible situation. Again, she can't help it. She didn't choose it. But I have chosen to try to give her the best quality of life possible. Yes, she wakes me up at night. Yes, she demands to eat after she has just finished eating. Yes, she is incontinent. Yes, she can be mean at times. Yes, she sometimes messes up things in the house. However, she said yes to me when I needed her the most; so I will continue to say yes to her as long as I possibly can and with a good attitude. Love makes sacrifices.
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Thank you for all your comments and suggestions. My father is a bit more gentle than some of the folks I was reading about, but he does get angry and very mad a lot. I am sure it will get worse as time goes by. We are in the talking stage now about the nursing home. He was in one for short term, but was getting better, he begged us to come home, he was actually more with it there than here at home. We want him home thru the holidays, then a decision has to be made. He is on waiting list for a bed, we just have to talk to his doctor and figure things out from there. And you are right, he is not the same person he was anymore. Very sad but thats the reality of this terrible disease.
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Today has been my breaking point! Why oh why am I left to live my life in misery! I thought taking my Mom in for the fourth time after she was struck by a car a year ago....was doing the right thing. We moved her from an assisted living center in another state into our home. She has wreaked havoc, loves to argue, never happy about anything! There is no pleasing or satisfying her. She is angry at the world because she wants to walk the streets, and operate as she did before. The city life of hustle and bustle is not for any 80 yr old. This was her second major accident in the street. This last time she was struck and left for dead on the streets of DC. we had no choice but to mover her into our home.
From the time she stepped foot into our home she announced that she is "the meddling mother-in-law" she has now recovered miraculously from the broken femur bone and is now walking again. She is bored to tears but everything we suggest for her to do ......she resists.
Today she saw a bug on the window and because we would not take care of it quick enough she decides to take the toilet bowl brush to kill it. Why?! I could not believe my eyes and told her that it was unsanitary to do that. She insisted that we are planting bugs to kill her and she has to take care of it herself! I am the only living child -no other family other than my 27 yr old daughter. Our lives revolve around her and at 47 yrs of age I can take no more of this.
My husband wants to take control of the situation but I am afraid of him taking it too far. He feels that she is destroying our lives and he is so angry. I am caught in the middle of keeping him calm and dealing with her foolishness.
I have began the search for nursing homes but in the mean time I am searching for a senior day care where she can socialize more and I can return to work before I lose my mind!
I agree with Joseph......my mother is not the person I once knew and I have shed so many tears because I feel nothing but hatred from her as she literally is working on destroying everything I have worked so hard for. I continue to pray for peace in this situation.
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My father was the same......PUT HIM IN A NURSING HOME! My dad actually Killed my Mother keeping her up all Night She kept feeding him until she was so weak ....she got sick and died! We didnt reliaze what a burden he was to her.....I have Dad with me and now and it would be a blessing if he Died in his sleep......he doesnt know me, demands food, destroys everything in the house.....cant walk but gets up at 2 in the morning and says he is going to school.....he is 91 ! He is not your father you once knew...if you love him...and your life.... put him in a unit!
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We have to keep certain things out of the house. Constant eating plus virtually no exercise and Mom gained a fast 40lbs. She used to eat a few pieces of dark chocolate a day. Now, if she has it, she'll eat whatever's in the house until it's all gone. We sprinkle "discoveries" in a few places for her to find.

Another thing to consider is the plumbing. I've become the toilet manager and plunging expert. If I don't catch a problem, Mom will try to fix it and flood the house. So, even if weight isn't an issue, you may have to hide the food.

Another issue is that food gets left out, not put back in the fridge. If it's warm when I find it, I toss it. However, our dairy seems to spoil faster than it used to. I think it gets left out for hours, then put back before I catch it. We're spending over twice what we used to for food now. I get microwave food, single serving snacks and smaller cartons. I discovered that I have to open the packaging ahead of time. I tried having a batch of something made to last a few days. I end up having to eat all the leftovers 'cuz Mom picks new things or something else.

Can you work out a printed schedule display that ties meals to a clock? When my mom is confused about something, I ask her to refer to the clock. It has the temp, day of week, AM/PM and date. Your dad might respond to visual cues better than attempts to reason with him.

What about snacks that he likes all the time? Does he like string cheese? We have lots of yougurts.

Being awake all night might be helped by lighting tricks, routine, exercise, stuff like that. Mom used to get AM and PM confused. She would wake up from a late nap, think it was morning and start drinking coffee and want to go somewhere. I had to take all the coffee out of the house and leave only a small jar of decaf. You could ask his dr. about using melatonin supplements. If they are used all the time, or too high a dose, they can shut down natural production in the brain. Maybe his normal production is already shut down??

Ad lib soup sounds like a good, healthy idea...helps keep you hydrated too. Is he safe enough not to burn himself or the house? I had to take the buttons off the stove a long time ago. I only bring one out when I'm cooking. Can you provide things to eat that take effort and attention to get at? We have chocolate in the form of individually wrapped Hershey's kisses. It slows down consumption, sort of.
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My mother-in-law can't remember eating, and apparently can't tell when she's full either. She has neuropathy of the feet, but sometimes I think it's her stomach that is numb and that's why she can't 'feel' that she's full. Also, her weight is fine and never waivers much, so I guess it's not hurting her to eat what she wants, when she wants. But then again she lives alone in asst. living and isn't bothering anyone with it.
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When my father was healthier he used to fry eggs when he was hungry and he was also a big soup lover. Sometimes my mother would make a monster batch of soup and he could microwave a bowl as needed. Pretty safe to do and soup is filling without having a lot of calories. Just an idea.
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His weight is fine, but I am sure at the rate he is eating he will gain. He blames other people for taking food when my mother goes to look for something to eat and its gone. This happens in the middle of the night too. My mom is fed up, and tired. I dont want him to go to a nursing home yet, he takes Trazadone at night but it really doesnt help him sleep.
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That can happen. My father would eat a meal and then forget and want to eat again. How is his weight doing?
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