My 83 yr old mother was in the hospital last week because of dehydration. She has short term memory loss, heart and kidney issues. She was released Back to NH after IVs last Wednesday. She does not want to eat or drink hardly anything at all. She is back in the hospital again. Is not eating and drinking normal? At this point we are not sure what to do. She knows us when we are there but later probably does not remember what we talked about or that she is sick... does this happen often with dementia patients?

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People suffering from Dementia may think they have eaten and haven't. And like a thread going now they do eat, don't remember they did, and want to eat again.

My question would be, is the staff trying to feed her or just putting the tray in front of her and leaving. My Mom had a good appetite and could feed herself. I had an aide tell me she wasn't brushing her teeth. I asked if the aide was putting the toothpaste on the toothbrush and handing it to Mom. I realized early on, when Mom was living with us, that she had forgotten the steps. I couldn't believe that someone who worked with Dementia patients hadn't realized that. So first thing I would ask is if Mom was being fed by an aide.

You may want to ask about a swallow test. That may be the problem. She may need to have her foods soft or like said thickened. It also could be her body shutting down. You really need to talk to the doctor in charge of her care and see what is going on.
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Reply to JoAnn29

The first priority is to figure out why she isn't eating and drinking, if it is due to dysphagia (trouble swallowing) that can be easily relived by changing the texture of meals and beverages, she should have someone qualified evaluate her swallowing ability. As I learned swallowing is a very complex mechanism and trouble with this is common in dementia.
Lack of appetite is also to be expected as someone nears the end of life and is often a predictor that they are beginning to enter that phase.
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Reply to cwillie

First of all big hug for you and mom! My mother was 86 when we lost her this year. So I’m happy for her yet heartbroken on what she had to endure by the ones who said they loved her most. But I wanted to just share my experience.

Is it truly that she does not want to eat or drink (part of dementia) or that she can’t or is having trouble (part of dementia)? My mother went through all mentioned. When she was under my care, she was put on megestrol (think spelled correctly) to give an appetite – it did. Then she started having trouble with swallowing especially meat (had swallow studies). So we had to cut, cut, cut smaller portions of meat and give liquid with every bite. At one point we had to move to smoothies and regretfully puree but she graduated back to regular foods with supervision for about a year.

Then about three or four months ago, she was in and out of the hospital (no longer under my care) for it seems like anything. At any rate, each visit made mom weaker and weaker and faster and faster. Siblings figured this was better than hospice but I totally disagreed because I saw the turnaround mom had before with hospice but maybe not the case with everyone in the world (don't want to give that impression). The final time she came home, she could not swallow the water or plain yogurt I attempted. I called hospice several times but they would not call me back due to sister. I called again anyway that morning only to find out siblings were discussing a feeding tube. I asked God to please just please don’t allow them to do that to her. That prayer was answered, my beautiful mom resting.

Caregiving 2020 is absolutely correct, “In and out of the hospital is a lot fir their already confused brain in addition to hospital delirium.”

Keep us posted if you can.
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Reply to answry

I heard your pain. You are not alone. You have your support here. Forgetting to eat is common with dementia. Did your mom came from home or a NH resident? Your mom is going through a lot. In and out of the hospital is a lot fir their already confused brain in addition to hospital delirium. Do you know your moms wishes? Do you think this is something that she will like or do? For some families they reach out to their geriatrician and talk about goals of care before their LO visits the ICU. Pray for more wisdom and guidance. Im sending you my Hugs and prayers.
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Reply to Caregiving2020

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