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My mother, 82, lives with my husband and me. She has mild dementia. I make a balanced dinner for the three of us every night (protein, vegetables, potatoes or rice) and I make her lunch on most days. Each day or over night she regularly eats up to a 1/2 gallon of ice cream in one sitting or 12 or more cookies at a time. I have tried hiding treats from her (so there some left for us) or I go through periods where I stop bringing sweets in the house. When she can't find sweets she asks me nonstop to go to the store. She will then eat other things to excess--crackers, raisins, yogurt, whatever she can find. She doesn't remember overeating and isn't gaining weight. She also gets angry when I suggest she put the ice cream or whatever away and got very mad when I mentioned it to her doctor. Question: If she's generally healthy (her cholesterol and weight are within normal ranges) does it matter if she eats that much?

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The irony of being in a facility is that they didn’t care when she gained weight but as soon as she lost weight they wanted to give her an appetite stimulant

I guess weight loss is a mandatory reporting event
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Something to consider long-term----weight gain (and she will eventually gain weight) will make caring for her when she advances in her dementia, extremely difficult. Try buying sugar free items for her and hide your own regularly sweetened items. She's probably eating because she's bored and it has become a habit--we all do it.
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Most folks at mom's memory care live on ice cream and cookies- she put on a lot of weight the first year

maybe give her some peanuts in the shell to keep her hands busy and swap out the ice cream for frozen yogurt
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Peanuts in the shell sound like a good idea. Are they still called ‘goober peas’ in the USA? I learned a song as a child about 60 years ago about ‘peas peas peas peas, eating goober peas: goodness how delicious, eating goober peas’. It took me decades to find out that it was about peanuts.
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It's very odd that she isn't gaining weight. In the past, has she eaten a lot and not gained weight, or is this something new? It raises nasty questions about 'feeding the cancer', which I hope is not the answer. However if it is, let her eat whatever she likes!

Can you leave out something reasonably healthy for her to binge on? Yogurt is a lot healthier than icecream in excess, and perhaps you can think of other things. Good luck!
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Violet521 Jan 2019
She had her gallbladder removed 18 months ago but has no chronic health problems. Although 3 months ago she was complaining of pain where her gallbladder had been. The doctor did blood work and a CT scan of her abdomen and results were negative. At the moment she's slathering butter on graham crackers. :) She's sympathetic to my intention of reducing my own ice cream and dessert intake right now so I will reiterate that point to her when she asks where the treats are.
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How's her blood sugar?? That's a pretty excessive amount of sugar she's ingesting on a fairly regular basis. I can't believe she's not gaining weight eating like that! Do you think she's eating enough at dinner? I wonder if she's "hungry" or just eating like this as a bad habit or almost some kind of a compulsion (no expertise on that, just total speculation on my part). I also wonder if she doesn't feel full (maybe she can't) and is trying to feel satisfied?

I feel badly when my mom eats too much carbs and sugars. I'm no saint, but she is overweight with RA and sugar causes inflammation, etc. Sugar is very addictive, unfortunately.

Is there a trigger to this snacking? Is it dessert after dinner? Maybe there's a way to change the evening routine to break the cycle? Or maybe if you provide her a reasonable amount of dessert before she can grab the whole container of ice cream and dig in? Would she be willing to overeat on something healthier? Would she accept a smaller dessert and a small cup of herbal tea to keep her busy and fill her up?
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Violet521 Jan 2019
Thanks for your answer. I will make sure they check her blood sugar next time she's at the doctor.
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Dementia diminishes smell and taste. They taste sugar and it gives them instant gratification. Just do what you do, keep it out of the house, or hide it and just give Mom so much a day.
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