My mom will eat breakfast and lunch ok, if it's something she likes. Then the remainder of the afternoon until bedtime she asks for snacks. It's as though she's never full. She doesn't want a dinner meal. She says I never eat dinner. I try to give her cheese, sandwiches, something with protein, trying to satisfy her. It doesn't seem to help. She will say I haven't had anything. I'm so hungry. She's steadily gaining weight from it. She sits all day, only goes to the bathroom and back to her lift chair.

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Let them - what harm can it cause to someone who has a life limiting illness anyway.
Let her have her pleasure, my great aunt used to eat the 500gm bar of chocolate every day, she would not have understood if deprived, and although this eating is not healthy or may cause weight gain, any detriment from that has to be considered against quality of life.
It is hard to accept that a loved one is not in the same life as we knew them in, we can end up with all the best intentions keeping the body healthy as the mind deteriorates - why? Why honestly do we do this? It doesn't benefit the one we love, it may make us feel better, or keep them with us a little longer, but giving them pleasure and quality of life, company, care, and love is far more important than adding an extra time to their lives - for them - .
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Reply to TaylorUK

I say, who are we to say what someone in the years at the end of life should or shouldn't eat. My mom is 95 for one more week and right now she is good with eating whatever I set in front of her. She used to be a snacker during the afternoon, but as she is dependent on me now for food and I am not a snacker, she eats fairly well, but not snacks, only because she doesn't think to ask for crackers and such and I don't think to offer.

But if she wanted it, I surely would give it to her. But as long as someone isn't diabetic, I think as with my mom, who has lived all the way up to 95 basically doing what she wants and eating what she wants and made it to 95!! Why not let them eat what they want?
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Reply to Myownlife
Alice2365 Apr 4, 2021
Dear Myownlife,

Would you (or did you) allow your children (if you had them, not trying to get personal here) eat whatever they want, whenever they want? Part of taking care of a person is loving them enough to insist upon good, nutritious meals every day. That doesn't mean no fun food ever. I respectfully disagree that if your loved one is in your care, they need looking after in some sort of way. Just because your loved one is at an advanced age, does that give that person the "right" to drink or drug themselves to death? Or to be allowed to drive, even if they have slower reflexes and less perception of the drivers around them? I'm speaking from experience here, because I deal with it every day. My loved one loves junk food, and and hates drinking the required amounts of water each day. So, I am the rotten daughter who "makes" her eat decent meals and drink water. After that's done. I don't worry about the rest of the things she eats.
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My dad didn’t have dementia, but certainly found that it took sweeter or sharper flavors to have appeal. The taste sense can decline and it takes junk foods to have flavors that satisfy. There’s also eating from boredom, it simply gives something to do. You’ll have to strike a balance in what food your bring in, having the junk food in smaller quantities, and making some peace with it. I like Geaton’s idea of having mom walk for it, more moving is good and it may diminish the number of times she’s going for it
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Reply to Daughterof1930

My 81 year old husband gets up in the night and makes toast. Sometimes, lots and lots of toast. With cinnamon sugar and butter. and cups of coffee, from which he usually on takes a sip of two. He will be up several times a night sometimes.

For a while he wanted pumpkin pie with Coolwhip. Two or three times a day. on top of which, he would sprinkle cinnamon sugar.

He would be too full to eat a real breakfast, so his caregiver makes him a substantial lunch, with protein and fruit, because he won't eat vegetables.

When I spoke with his PCP, who has been our doctor for 40 years he said to let him eat whatever he wants. The doctor recommend keeping protein drinks (I have been buying Premier Protein, because they make a flavor he likes) around. I can usually get him to drink one a day, and the doctor is fine with that. As he said, what are you trying to save him from? He is never getting better. And I have accepted that.
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Reply to Maple3044

My mom loves her ice cream. She will mostly eat a healthy breakfast but then ask for ice cream around 10:00.

She nibbles at lunch and dinner but hardly ever turns down something sweet.

I think they can taste sweets the most or simply desire them more than other food choices.

Mom has never had a weight problem. In fact, she’s extremely thin.

I was talking to mom’s hospice nurse a few days ago about her diet. She said that she feels it’s one of the few pleasures that they have left in life and she will serve them whatever they want.

It’s difficult to deny someone of something that they love to eat. I suppose it depends on age and health.

Are there ways of modification of serving her favorite treats?

Perhaps a homemade version of something made with less sugar and fat.

She can still have a treat but substitute a healthier version of it if you feel that is best.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom

I understand your dilemma. Mine is the same. I make sure she has 3 Chocolate, her favorite flavor in all the world, Protein drinks in the frig. If she finds chocolate candy she will eat it all. So we have to moderate her access to that. If she were to gain much weight, it will complicate what she can now do for herself as well as make it harder for me to care for her. It’s kind of a pick your battles situation. Some days I hide the pop, she’ll also drink that after having thrown away her food, she thought she ate. Other days, I make her a root beer float. She loves those, too. Anything sugary. So, I say do the best you can, to keep things easy and healthy for both of you. And that may change from one day to the next. It’s complicated, isn’t it??!! I suppose I could let her eat everything she wanted, and send her to an assisted living place when she’s too heavy for me to take care of. It’s hard to find that balance. Good luck. I’m right there with you.
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Reply to BetsyPE

How old is your mom? I'm asking because if she's in her 90s I'd say let her eat what she wants, pick your battles. But if she's not too advanced in years, I wouldn't want my LO's health to become compromised, or a more likely issue: to gain "too much" weight which would make helping them maneuver through the day more difficult for both the LO and the caregiver. My aunt in her mid mid 90's with late stage dementia went through a phase where she seemed to never stop eating. She was tall and thin her whole life, and ate a healthy Mediterranean diet so we let her have whatever she wanted. She gained 13 lbs, but it wasn't an issue since she had been so thin prior. This phase stopped and now she only wants to eat one brand of only one kind of canned soup. So we let her.

Is it possible to give her snacks that are "less bad" for her? Like veggie chips instead of potato chips? Don't show her the containers so she doesn't fixate on it, just give it to her in a bowl. Also, non-dairy ice cream (like Halo) makes one that is very satisfying and tastes like ice cream but way fewer calories and sugar.

Also, resist serving it to her, make her come to the table to get it so that she moves around more. Hopefully this is a phase for her. Good luck!
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Reply to Geaton777

Have seen people eat, then claim to have not eaten for days. Also seen the opposite - refusing food as says just eaten, when they really haven't. Due to short term memory problems I suppose.

I have also wondered if the hunger message or full message fades/fails?

I found this on Alz website:
'Often people with dementia don't taste food and experience flavor like they once did, which can change appetite preferences'.

I think if 2 of 3 meals are OK, I'd go with that. Add a protein supp drink (if needed) & then just a light dinner. Soup, tinned fruit, icecream & jelly is often popular.
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Reply to Beatty

Dementia can last over a decade. Eventually they don’t want to eat & you have to encourage it. This must be the early stages. My mom is advanced & only talks in mumbo jumbo now. At this point I give her almost anything I know she’ll eat to keep her weight up. She drinks a lot of ensure-I use the powder canisters & make a pitcher in the frig & eats mostly handheld foods now. Eventually due to the dementia, she will have trouble swallowing & lose interest in eating. Regarding your question, I say let her do whatever she wants. She has a permanent disease that is terminal. Just make her happy & comfortable. Her eating habits will change along the way & you can give her healthier foods later when she forgets about junk food. Sometimes fat & happy is good. Attach a bidet to the toilet for diarrhea & use pull ups when the time comes. A bidet makes everything much easier!!
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Reply to Kelkel

Bring her to her doctor to first see if there are changes in her health
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Reply to MACinCT

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