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Severe Dementia Refusal to Eat

What to Do When Someone With Severe Dementia Refuses to Eat

By , Caring.com senior editor
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Distressing though it can be to watch someone refuse to eat, this is a normal development of severe-stage dementia. Losing interest in food is often the beginning of the body shutting down.

Force-feeding is never a good idea; your loved one may choke or inhale food into the lungs. Some better options:

  • Once someone ceases to accept foods, you can follow his or her lead or preferences stated in an advance directive, if it exists.

  • You can choose to discuss with the doctor the pros and cons of prolonging life through artificial nutrition and hydration.

  • To keep the person comfortable, offer liquids to drink or swab the mouth with a moistened sponge. Some people enjoy the sweet taste of a small drop of honey or strong, thick juice (like pineapple) on the tongue.