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Food! Forgetting my mom ate, saying no one gives her food etc!! OMG
Anyone else dealing with this whole food thing? Its like I want to take pictures of my mom eating with a time stamp going YES MOM YOU ATE and we are not hiding your food!! And well sorry the juice I bought you last week went bad because well....I am at the point of getting her juice boxes!! Okay mom you are hungry because here is your breakfast in the microwave!!
Today we had pizza and salad for lunch with my grand daughter (her great grand daughter) and ten minutes later my mom say "they (you) forgot to feed me and why doesn't this pizza taste good from the microwave!
Its the food and eating thing that seems to really show the memory issues...either she eats three bowls of pasta and is STILL hungry or she says she hasn't eaten because "she can't taste anything in her mouth"...
Its so strange how the brain, taste buds, and body are no longer connecting....breaks my heart
My mom had lost 15 pounds and was down to 97 pounds when I moved in with her a year ago. My goal was to help her regain the lost weight and I cooked her three nutritious meals a day. Just as important and the food, she had someone to enjoy the meals with. After dinner, we got into a new routine of playing cards or bingo, and that was a lot of fun, too.
Over the months, Mom kept gaining weight. I began to realize that, like your mom, she would completely forget that she had just eaten. She had a particular fondness for hamburgers and wanted to go to McDonald's one day for lunch. I got her a Happy Meal. Then, she took her afternoon nap. Later, as I was getting ready to cook dinner, she asked me to come over and whispered, "How about we go out for hamburgers tonight?" I reminded her that she had just eaten one a couple hours ago and she didn't believe me. Then, I pulled the Happy Meal box out of the garbage to show her and she just laughed and said, "No, that wasn't me!"
Even when she'd help me prepare a meal by stirring something or cutting the vegetables, she wouldn't remember 10 minutes later.
During the last 6 months, I weaned her off her 60+ year smoking habit. After that, she really wanted to snack a lot. I tried portion control or sugar free snacks but she kept gaining weight. She eventually put on 40 pounds over the year. Yikes! She's outgrown her pants and I've been buying new clothes for her but I know that one day this phase will end and she's really been enjoying the food.
You can't fix this. Her damaged brain cannot retain new information. I agree with your observation about brain/body/sensory disconnect. I would suggest giving her three meals and a couple of snacks on schedule. If she says she is hungry and you know she just ate, distract her with something else.
My mother is Stage 7, chair bound, and largely immobile, but she can still feed herself. Sometimes she will tell us she is hungry; we have also noticed that she will become a bit agitated and restless when it is getting close to mealtime. We bridge the gap between lunch and dinner with a nutritious snack, such as a Greek yogurt. All things considered, she eats pretty well...enough that she has gained quite a bit of weight since entering the immobile phase and it has made it harder to care for her.
I recently read that as the brain deteriorates, the hypothalamus sends out hunger signals, and the victim gains weight. (Sorry, I can't pull up the URL.) Then, as the hypothalamus deteriorates further, it stops sending out any hunger signals.
At that point the victim can loose up to 1/3 their body weight. Does anyone know if that's right?
In any event, Ev (DH) is mostly in the hunger part of that. He has gained 4 inches in pant's size, and that's just by dropping the waist below his stomach. Fortunately, he was slim to begin with.
I just try to keep him to healthy choices, because, now, he occasionally has spells when he doesn't want anything. Since he was slim to begin with, I'm afraid he'll loose too much when he stops getting hunger signals entirely.
I don't like making bad decisions because there are no good decisions to make.
We are also dealing with food issues. Also dealing with 2 people! One of which is in kidney failure and isn't hungry most of the time. He is drinking protein shakes now and has gained 8 lbs. He expects his wife (the PWD) to take care of his needs and it's becoming impossible.
We want her to try and do things while someone is there with her in the kitchen, but it is a sad affair to watch her just make eggs and toast. It takes her up to a half an hour. I suppose we will shortly be transitioning to a meal plan of some sort. They have been very accepting of prepared meals being brought to them.
Everyone in the family is aware of MIL eating habits, she will grab snacks during the day if she's walking through the kitchen. We also watch the portions as she will finish whatever is put in front of her.
I dread cleaning out the refrigerator!!!! I do it once a week at least. There has been a lot of waste, it's a shame.
I will just add my mom to your list of those who have no clue they just ate. It is strange and sometimes my mom has had two meals. She lives in a community where she gets 3 meals a day and snacks, but I cannot rely on her to tell me that she ate or what it was.
The best I can do is mention that she just had lunch or she is about to have dinner. Mom does know these meal times happen, she just can recall that they have. It IS difficult to fathom sometimes, but if you do keep in mind this is a brain disease and it is an illness, it can make things easier for us. I think my breaking point was a few weeks back when I finally realized that no matter how normal my mom may seem AT TIMES, I can no longer rely on anything she tells me. I know have to put more trust in others and that itself is difficult.
Food issues were one of the first things that clued us into Mom's dementia. She had always cooked and baked extensively, making a budget stretch to feed 5 kids and a husband. My dad had his chores; Mom was always the cook.
By late 2008, we'd noticed some big holes in mom's short-term memory. Then, at a Christmas gathering with a buffet lunch, she ate with my husband and me after filling her plate. About 10 minutes after we'd finished and cleared away our plates, she got back into the buffet line. It wasn't like her to eat two big plates of food so when she got back to the table, I asked her if she'd put together that plate for my dad who was at home sick. She said, "No, I haven't eaten yet!"
Everyone at the table looked at each other with surprise that she could've forgotten so quickly. We just let it go.
Over the next year, we discovered spoiled food in the fridge and the fact she had no idea how to cook any more. We bought easy things like frozen lasagna, and instead of going by the directions to bake it, she'd thaw it in the fridge then heat it up in the microwave. She'd only use 1/3 of a one-meal dried soup mix packet but way too much water. My dad, who was in congestive heart failure, was losing far too much weight. We had to start buying him Ensures and other stuff he could take directly from the fridge.
Needless to say, they both belonged in assisted living by this time, but Dad then passed away and Mom was alone. When we moved her to assisted living a few months later, it was like she couldn't remember any food unless it was sitting right on the counter. She'd forget to look in the fridge or the cabinets. She'd tell me she hadn't eaten when the aides told me she had indeed made it to dinner, etc.
This is just such a common and weird part of this disease, and it can happen so early on.
This part of the disease frustrates me as well. We have the opposite problem. My MIL doesn't eat and when I give her dinner, telling her she has to eat because she hasn't eaten all day, she doesn't believe me. Her reply is "well, I'm not hungry, I must have eaten."
She very rarely will feel hungry and ask to eat without being prompted. And even then lots of times, doesn't eat very much food. I would love to be able to give her Ensure or other supplement drinks, but she can't tolerate any dairy or lactose of any kind. Thankfully for now she manages to get enough food to maintain a normal weight, but I fear for the future.
We kind of have the opposite problem at our house. Unless there is some sort of cue (like she sees one of the kids eating) or we just flat out make it for her, my MIL forgets to eat but if you ask her you get a 'I made a sandwich for lunch' sort of response. It was an intermittent thing for a while, but we really started noticing how bad it was getting because she would forget to eat breakfast and her morning pills would give her troubles. We make her breakfast and I usually make her lunch now, too unless she gets a cue that its time to eat. We've always sat down for dinner since we moved in with her, so it was never an issue.
It is fascinating as heck to watch her open the fridge and look at all the food (our fridge is rarely empty). She can't figure out what to do with it. Putting together a plate of leftovers is beyond her capabilities now.
My mom lives with me, and she really can't cook her own food beyond finding something in fridge and microwaving it (no stove or oven use - she forgets). So I make her meals, but I am also babysitting my granddaughter and dealing with a toddlers meals, I am like the mad hatter.
Today I pick my mom up from her lunch at the YMCA, and she is holding a leftover dessert and a banana is in her bag and she is using a toothpick to clean her teeth and she says "They forgot to feed us today"...then I said, well no, they fed you and you are cleaning your teeth and her response was "i don't taste anything so I didn't eat". The YMCA lunches are just for the food, but for my mom too be out and "socializing"...but still she doesn't know what or how much she ate...
Its hard because I want her to maintain a healthy weight but I don't know what she is really eating and drinking unless I sit with her 25-7 and that is just not possible.
She has gained some weight which in her case is good, however she really likes her coke cola and try as I might to try alternatives like club soda and juice, well, at what point does one shrug and go well...
All I can say is THANK YOU TRADER JOES, you have saved us. Sure I would love to do perfeclty balanced meals all day, but give my mom fruit and it goes in the fridge and goes bad (now I just make smoothies for grandbaby and mom)
Its reassuring reading all the other stories seeing its "usual" for this disease and as I look at my mom I wonder, what phase is she really at? She can shower, speak coherantly, etc, but her memory from minute to minute, well it ain't there
I feel like food has been the #1 issue we have had after the car was taken away. Last year all he wanted to eat was potato chips and he would go through a bag or more a day if I let him. I would gladly go back to that because now he barely eats anything. He is being put on hospice care this week because of weight loss.
Dad is probably stage 6 according to this list: http://www.tamcummings.com/stages_of_dementia_11.html