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It seems she is hungry all the time.

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Yogagirl: Correction: She thinks people steal soup cans? (Not empty). That is a strange behavior pattern, but then she's ill, right? The mind of an elder, ill or not, is a sometimes bizarre one! My late mother would ask me a random question, e.g. "I think M's (name withheld for privacy reasons) birthday is December 5, right?" I said "now mother, you've known for 40 years that your granddaughter's birthday is December 4." Nope...couldn't change her mind..she went with December 5!
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My mom 86years old also forgot that we already eat our meals & our snacks,What did is I made her a personal time calendar,I let her check the time calendar whenever we finish eating.It was not easy to let her follow what I want, just give more patient.
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Sorry again! I meant to say "she thinks people steal empty soup cans?" Of course, the rational person knows that is what happens with dementia. Poor soul.
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She thnks people steal empty soup cans?
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We found soup cans hidden under mom's bed for safekeeping.
She thinks people steal them.
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Hmmm...isn't she getting enough to eat?, does she think she has not eaten due to her brain malfunction?, or (worse cause scenario) is she binging and purging and not realizing it?
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My mother used to put food into the refrigerator for my grandfather before she went to work for a few hours. We found that unless there was a note of the table specifically telling him that his lunch was in the refrigerator, he wouldn't bother to look and would accuse her of "letting an old man starve" (but he was always finding fault with everyone and everything, so this was no surprise). Afterward she made a point of leaving a note for him.
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on the oposite side of the scale... can anyone give advise for my father that forgets to feed himself while I am at work... set him him up with the local meals-on-wheels.... he did really good for about 5 months... now when I get home from work and ask him what he would like for dinner, he tells me his lunch is in the fridge and he will eat that. He is so cantankerous that I just leave it at that.
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You didn't state where she is living and where and whom she is stealing the food from. If she has dementia, they do forget if and when they ate, and this could be why she is taking food. But, we will be better able to answer and help you with this question, if you give us more info as the questions that were asked above.
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When the person has dementia, she may not realize that she's already had her food or that she's full. The signals in the brain don't work right anymore. And she may likely think that taking food from any place is just fine. The mind may not fully appreciate what she's doing. Some dementia patients tear up books, photos, pictures, and throw them in the trash. They don't realize that they did it.

If she's not overweight, I would just try to keep her occupied with her own food and even extra food if that's what she wants. People should be understanding about this condition and not hold it against her. Your profile says she in your home. Is that correct or is she someone else now?
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Did she grow up during the depression? Maybe she is regressing back to that time when she may not have had enough food.
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With dementia, one will forget they have eaten and/or the message from the brain doesn't allow them to realize they have eaten. If she is not overweight, just let her have a little and then remove the food.
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When my grandfather had been in a nursing home for a few months, we found that he was losing weight. He ate his meals and had no particular medical problems, and it became apparent the portions being served were simply inadequate for him. He was a big man--tall with a large frame--and portions adequate for a 100 lb woman were simply not sufficient for a 190 lb man (and probably wouldn't be even for some larger women). I mention this in case some residents steal food out of a genuine need to satisfy hunger.
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I think this may be a common thing that dementia patients do. There is a man in the Assisted Living Memory Care facility that my mom is in that goes around and does this. He also tries to take his clothes off in front of other. There is another lady there who says she is hungry all the time and told me they don't feed her. She was eating when she said it. If she lives with you, this behaviour can be really disruptive to the family, but there is probably not a whole lot you can do about it.
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Alzheimer’s is sometimes referred to as “diabetes of the brain.” Your mother might be a carboholic (addicted to carbohydrates). You might consider adding more natural fats to her diet (butter, olive oil, coconut oil, even meat fats). That might help reduce her cravings for carbs. Consider researching the ketogenic diet, which is low-carb and high-fat.
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Profile says that your mother is living at your home. Who/how does she steal from? Do you mean she takes food off your plate? Takes food out of the fridge or cupboard? Or does this happen when she is out of the house -- such as at an adult day health program?

A woman who usually sat at my mother's table was at a different table when we visited a few times. Staff said she was begging food from others. My mom was losing weight and this lady was overweight and diabetic. They felt my mom was too easy-going and would not protect her food. "Sure, you can the rest of my hot dish." That didn't last long. Soon they were sitting at the same table again, enjoying each other's company. In this case since the lady was diabetic she might have been experiencing blood sugar lows, which can increase one's appetite big time. Or it may have just been a part of her dementia.

Is this "stealing" a problem? Is your mom gaining unneeded weight? Do other people suffer because she is taking their food?

For many of us, eating is pleasant and comforting. Wanting to do it often may have more to do with that than with real hunger.

One of my sisters often visits around breakfast time. Mom does not remember if she has eaten or not. Well, are you hungry? Just a little. So sister confirms that Mom has already eaten and gets her a piece of toast. As FF says, forgetting one has eaten can be a reason for eating more. An extra piece of toast is no problem for my mother.

Please tell us more about the situation and maybe someone can be more specific.
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Your profile says that your Mom has Alzheimer's/Dementia.... it could be her memory is tricking her into thinking she hasn't eaten.
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