Grandmother doesn't eat

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New Member

Date Joined Oct 2011
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 10/22/2011 4:57 PM (GMT -6)   
My grandma has Alzheimer's. She hurt her back a month ago and ever since then, she's been depressed and doesn't eat. My mom and aunt make her protein shakes but she never wants to eat. She says she's never hungry. We make her food all the time but she either refuses it or takes a bite and says she's full. We're at a point where we don't know what to do anymore.

Any help would be extremely appreciated.

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 23551
   Posted 10/23/2011 3:00 PM (GMT -6)   
Have you tried sitting with her and have her eat with you? I used to have to do that with my grandmother. Is she in pain? Does she take pain pills?
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New Member

Date Joined Oct 2011
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 10/23/2011 10:51 PM (GMT -6)   
Sitting with her doesn't help and she is on pain killers. She messed up something in her back. It's supposed to take from 4 to 6 weeks to heal. It's been over a month now.

She's lost 30lbs in a month and she wasn't big to begin with. We try to feed her little meals often but she claims she's never hungry. She's been throwing up after eating lately, too.. which just makes her want to eat even less.

She gets really down about the situation, too. She just wants to feel better. She's had enough. It's really sad.

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Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 6448
   Posted 10/24/2011 8:40 AM (GMT -6)   

That is very tough. My Mother has never been a big eater, and now has Dyspahgia (along with Dementia), which is a swallowing disorder. She totally stopped eating while my Dad was so ill, and was down to 72 pounds. The caregivers have been making her shakes that have protein powder, ensure, ice cream, and peaches -- but make it thin enough for her to get down. We also add protein powder to puddings, or whatever she can get down. Also switched to baby food as it's more pureed. She likes the sweet potatoes, go figure. And we've also added protein powder to the cut and bake chocolate chip cookies. It's funny because when she used to cook -- it was always a meat, starch, and vegetable; and now I can't get her to eat any of it!

At this point, find something she does like to eat. Is it chocolate? Sweets? Salty? And then go from there. Throughout the process of my Mom's illness I've learned that many elderly lose their "taste" so sweet or salty things is what they prefer. I cringe because I think she is not eating properly, but at this point they just need to eat something.

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Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 6448
   Posted 10/24/2011 8:42 AM (GMT -6)   
ps, you might want to contact her doctor and tell them that she is so nauseated; they might be able to help by giving her something to combat that. The thing that worked the best for my Dad was a 12 hour suppository but they also have many other things that might help as well.

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Date Joined Dec 2008
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   Posted 11/12/2011 6:52 PM (GMT -6)   
Lonie has some fantastic ideas. As for baby food, I'd recommend making your own baby food over store brought.....

Naseau is probably a side effect from her pain killers. I am surprised they even gave her pain killers. With dementia it tends to work the opposite way on people. She probably is in more pain than you think. My grandmother, I took care of her til recently, she has dementia. After her surgery she was given ibprofen for the pain. In my honest opinion, I'd get a new doctor for her and one who actually specializes with Dementia patients. She could be over medicated too. She needs to go see a doctor hon, preferbably whom specializes in dementia.

I worked in a kitchen in a nursing facility before I went to CNA for 3 years. An easy way of making thicknesses is adding a tiny bit of liquid at a time. For example: pudding puree (baby food really thick) cookie put the cookie in a blender and add a tablespoon of milk or water. Mix.. add liquid til you get "pudding". If needed thinner like mechnical soft foods.. its basically shredding all the food with a tiny bit of moisture to make it like a cooked speghetti noodle when u cut it..soft.

We gave grandma 3 ensures a day. After awhile, she thought it was "too sweet" so I poured ensure into a glass half way, and then the other half with milk and stirred it. She just loved the "chocolate" milk she kept getting.

Also til you can get in with the doctor, try even smaller portions Ie: breakfast: 1/2 banana snack: 1 piece of toast, lightly buttered lunch: 4oz chicken noodle soup snack: 3 cooked baby carrots supper: 1/2 sandwhich, 1 cup of broth snack: small smoothie (smoothie consists of fruit, veggies, icecream and ensure/ or milk) (I usually did the other half of banana, icecream, cooked or canned veggie of 1/2 serving so it blends better, icecream, ensure, and i added extra fruit to make it taste real good and so grandma didnt taste veggies). I used ensure, but that was to give Grandma extra vitamins) Doing it small like this, offers her a semi balanced diet. The ensure provides vitamins and minerals. In fact, I drink ensure because I am in chemotherapy and find eating difficult on lots of days.

I found it easier for grandma to drink fluids than to eat, although I managed to get her to eat small meals. I would make sure the food was mechnical soft ie: pasta with alfredo sauce, etc and some cooked really soft veggies sometimes i did brocoli, peas, carrots, whatever I had. But if she wouldn't eat for me, I'd go mix half milk half ensure because even ensure has protein and carbs and have her drink that.

Another thing, my grandma has a weakness for hamburgers. Seriously, she gets excited when we ask her if she wants to go to McDonalds. She will eat a hamburger and a few fries every time.
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Date Joined Mar 2011
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   Posted 12/23/2011 12:22 AM (GMT -6)   
Smurfy...excellant suggestions.

When a parent starts to choke on thickened foods then you dont want them to aspirate into the lungs. I called hospice in to regulate meds and help with making them comfortable.

Hospice was wonderful, medicare covered the cost.

I just hope that a loving family member can help me when I become elderly.

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