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Mom has dementia, dad died a few months ago, and mom barely eats now. She never had a big appetite but I've seen a huge decrease in appetite and change. Of course she's depressed. She's on celexa and aricept which calms her nicely, but she just says I'm not hungry. Not making her coffee anymore, and now not "reading" the paper. They are building up. She goes out to lunch but doesn't eat but has fun in the moment people watching. That wipes her out and then she naps at home after. She was drinking the Ensure drinks but now not so much. She knows he's gone and I'm starting to wonder if she just has no desire to be around anymore. She likes people watching but refuses anything like day care etc because she doesn't like interacting with people. Im at a loss and I'm her only support as the only child...just looking for guidance and answers so I know what's going on...

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She's only got the gals who take her to lunch. I'm thankful she's sort of adapted to them but she's a recluse. I'm waiting for a call back from the dr to possibly increase her antidepressant celexa. But you have good points with the progression of the dementia which is much worse with dad gone. And true about feeling better about seeing them eat but really do they even realize. It's hard as we all know. Thanks for the input!
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My cousin lost her appetite for awhile, even though she hadn't lost a spouse. Apparently, it was either her dementia or depression. I worried about it a lot, but now, I realize that I shouldn't have. Later on, she went on meds for depression and regained her appetite. She eats fine now, but, I know that eventually, with the progression of the dementia, she will lose her appetite again. It's the normal course of the illness, so, I don't think there is much to be done about it.

I suspect that we as the family feel we are making them better if we see them eat heartily. But, for them, it's not like that. Also, sometime people can eat and their body does not absorb the nutrients. I'd discuss it with her doctor to see if meds would be advisable.

Have you thought of anything like pet therapy or visitors in the home?
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Thanks everyone. Mom is 84. Dad was 94 and sharp as a tack, he was her pillar of strength, so to speak. She had chronic fatigue which is impossible to cure or manage but it seems like this is depression. She doesn't even have the energy or will to "help me" with things- she did help with her laundry and I totally let her help me when she has the chance- I cut my had and she ran in to get iodine for me- I let her take that on but it wiped her out. I try other things but she has no desire. My folks were married for 50 years and I was the only child so it wasn't a huge famly which might be why she's so lost. I also wonder if she's looking to follow in dad's footsteps. I need to talk to the dr about something for her appetite and/or depression. Thanks again everyone and I welcome the thoughts and ideas!
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A lot depends on her age. Couples married more than 60 years are likely to die within 6 months of each other. When my grandmother died, grandpa followed three months later. Symbiosis.
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You don't say how old your mom is and what her other medical issues might be, but I think some of this is normal and there's not too much you can do about it. My mom had a period where she got down to 107 lbs (at about 94). She slept a lot and then had no energy because she wasn't eating. I took her to the doctor to try to get her an appetite stimulant. My mom's doctor (a young female) basically told me to back off, that it's normal. I was NOT happy with that "let it go" response.

Well, I didn't back off. I went over every morning and made mom a good breakfast and sat with her while she ate it. I was retired at the time. I'd leave her a lunch in the fridge and check at lunch time to make sure she'd eat it (she forgets otherwise). So she bounced back in a couple of month's time and has been very stable at about 131 lbs for several years. Now she is getting over the shingles and she lost seven pounds and I'm back to being concerned about her weight and frailty.

For my mom at her age, I feel like any calorie is a good calorie. So she gets a lot of what she likes - mixed nuts, ice cream, cookies, sugared pop, mac and cheese...whatever she'll eat, I buy. I don't worry about how healthy anything is anymore, it's just about keeping her going until she's ready to check out.

I sometimes question myself about whether I should have just let mom "go" when she was at 107 pounds. I'm not sure the last three years have been that wonderful for her since all of her siblings are gone and she doesn't have any friends who communicate with her anymore. I'm about it. So don't be surprised if you have conflicted feelings about how much (or little) to do to "save" mom. I still do.
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Since both my parents had passed, I have found my appetite isn't the same. Exception is for chocolate, that I have a craving for big time. So what your Mom is going through probably is normal. Others might go in the other direction and eat more than they should, making food their comfort.

She recently lost the love of her life, and this isn't how they had planned their retirement. Thus Mom is emotionally exhausted, feeling lost. I also find myself putting things off so that is normal. Like I have no desire to do anything for Thanksgiving.

Sometimes medicines can decrease appetite, so I would have Mom see her primary doctor and ask if this might be the cause or not.

Have Mom help you with things that she use to enjoy. Did Mom like preparing Thanksgiving? Ask her for tips on what to do? Ask her to show you how to do this or that? Take it one step at a time.
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