Issue one: NO! Will you please eat some breakfast (a Hot Pocket, something she has eaten many times)? NO! We bought a nice dinner last night. She ate the equivalent of two tablespoons of food. Will you please eat? NO! "I am full!" Once she went three days without eating any appreciable amount.

Issue two: We are out shopping. While in public, she will engage any unsuspecting stranger in conversation. Most of the time her statements to other people make no sense at all, just strings of disconnected words. Sometimes the words make some kind of sense, but are totally inappropriate for addressing a stranger. She loves little children and will often engage them in lengthy conversations. Sometimes the parents show concern. Many times they need to leave and cannot get away from her.

I am told by her doctor that there is no solution for her outright refusals. I cannot force her to eat.

When she overstays her welcome in obviously unwanted conversations with strangers, I smile and say, "Come on, Nana. Come on." This becomes more and more difficult.


“Issue Two”...after his stroke in 2003 left him with aphasia, which means the brain knows what to say but that’s not always what comes out of the mouth, my husband loudly announced in a very crowded restaurant once that I washed dishes in the toilet. It makes me laugh to this day.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Ahmijoy

The doctor is right, you can't force feed her. You said she's always eaten Hot Pockets for breakfast. Why not try something else? A banana or some yogurt or something you wouldn't think would be a breakfast food like pudding or jello. Try to find foods that she will eat even if they're not totally healthy and representative of the 4 food groups.

While in public try not to let her corral strangers and children into non-sensical conversations. Always keep one eye on her and be ready to spring forward to let an unsuspecting stranger off the hook. My grandmother had Alzheimer's and she would be overly and inappropriately friendly to strangers and she'd say the most embarrassing things. I got to where I always had my arm loosely threaded through hers so that I could guide her away when I'd see that she wanted to go talk to someone. I'd gently pull her away before the conversation would even get started.

My grandmother would also whisper about people we'd see in restaurants or stores only it wasn't really a whisper but her normal speaking voice although she thought she was whispering. What a mess! She wouldn't be mean, she just had no filter. For example, "That woman is so pretty, it's a shame her nose is so large." This said to a waitress who was putting down our drinks. Ugh.
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Reply to Eyerishlass


What you do first is breathe. Next, I hope it is some comfort to know that you are so very, very far from alone in what you're going through.

Engagement with strangers: I recommend some kind of discreet, preferably decorative lapel badge that lets casual acquaintances see at a glance that your wife is living with Alzheimer's Disease. More people than you probably realise will understand what that implies. For examples of the sort of thing, check out Dementia Friends; and if you don't have a local equivalent, what about starting one?

For detaching her from people who are trying to escape, try physical contact (taking her hand, putting your arm around her waist) as well as the smiling encouragement, and offer a positive thing that you both need to do, e.g.: "Nana, we have to run - we'll be late for supper/our visitors/Jeopardy/our own funeral."

Whether food is a battle you have to pick only you know. If she won't eat, will she drink? - smoothies, milkshakes, soup...
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Countrymouse

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