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Mom Doesn't want to eat
Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2019 9:29 PM
Joined: 4/30/2019
Posts: 1

Mom is in stage 7. No longer walks and prefers staying in bed despite our efforts. She has lost her interest in eating. For months now we have noticed a change in her appetite but we were able to give her boost or find her likes. As of lately nothing seems to get her attention. At this point what do I do? I understand the disease process but as her daughter this is painful to watch. She is in a nursing home now, so I was going to get the MD involved. Not sure if that would change anything but it seems inhumane for me to stand by and let her starve. Having a hard time coping with all of this.
Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2019 9:50 PM
Joined: 4/29/2019
Posts: 27

Hi Nala81,

Try searching Teepa Snow Helping a Person Eat and Drink in Late Stage Dementia on Youtube. I saw a video once of hers where the PWD wasn't eating since people were trying to feed her and she didn't realize what was going on. But using hand over hand and guiding the person's hand to her mouth would allow her to realize she was eating. I'm really sorry you are going through this. It's so difficult to watch and not sure how you can help or fix it. Especially with your loved one. Is she having a physically hard time chewing and the food going down? 

Sending you hugs!

Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2019 11:37 PM
Joined: 4/1/2014
Posts: 4852

I'm sorry your mother is so ill. My mother has also reduced her eating. She is in the very last stages of Alz and has a hard time swallowing. I have to puree her food and thicken drinks and still she'll only eat a few bites. But I make sure she is well hydrated since she will still drink.

 My mother lives with me so I do the feeding and used to spend an hour at each meal begging her to eat a bit more. I have had to come to terms with the fact that mother's body is just not able to eat much any more. But before I gave up-I made sure I was feeding her things she liked, that she had no mouth or teeth issues and wasn't in any kind of pain elsewhere. I also consulted a doctor when this first started and he had some ideas to increase her appetite. 

Good luck and I hope your mother will eat again, but if she will not, try to put yourself in her shoes-would you want to eat if you were stage 7? When I began to think like this, I was able to let go of my desire to try and force my mother to eat more. I have not considered tube feeding as that is something my mother did not want and put that in her living will. Take care!

Posted: Wednesday, May 1, 2019 5:46 AM
Joined: 3/6/2017
Posts: 1642

Hi Nala-

This stage is indeed troubling.

I was wondering if your mom has been evaluated for hospice services. It might be something that would benefit you both. She'd get enhanced attention where she is and you would get support going forward. 

Disinterest in food is common in late stage dementia. Is this a situation where she's refusing to be fed or is she no longer able to self-feed?

My dad could generally be cajoled into a few bites of something sweet, but my dear aunt would go through phases where she stopped eating a number of times. Dad died before he lost the ability to self-feed by hand or spoon, but auntie needed to be spoon-fed. Her sister came most days at lunch to make sure she could eat as slowly as she liked; on days she couldn't be there she hired an aide just to do the hand-feeding. Auntie went only several eating strikes before she passed- she'd refuse food or eat only a bite or two for as long as a week before eating well again. 

She was on hospice during the last two eating strikes. The hospice nurse explained that not wanting food was part of the disease process. "The body is wise" she said. This is very common toward end stages- the brain isn't able to command the digestive process as it once did meaning that eating and drinking can cause distress rather than comfort. She encouraged us to offer but not force food. 


Posted: Wednesday, May 1, 2019 2:12 PM
Joined: 10/25/2018
Posts: 238

When my dad stopped eating and drinking while in the hospital, I did not allow them to force feed or hydrate him intravenously. He passed away a few days later. the last day he never woke up at all. By that time the pneumonia had taken hold.
Posted: Wednesday, May 1, 2019 2:40 PM
Joined: 12/17/2018
Posts: 222

Dear Nala,

I know how you feel.  To us, in our mindset, it does seem inhumane to stand by as someone is seemingly starving.  My mother is not at this stage yet but I went through it with another LO.  I did a lot of reading on it and the consensus of the experts is that it is a painless and peaceful end and can even be blissful.

That helped me a great deal.  I hope it gives you some comfort as well as you journey through this stage.

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