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over 4 years ago
Flomama said...

My mom lived with us for the last 2 years of her life...90-92. The last week before she died, she did pretty much what you describe. On her last day, she couldn't even hold down water...vomited everything.

My advice: keep your mom comfortable and let nature take its course. Ensure is okay. Hydrate her as well. Hug her. Read to her. Sing for her. Play music on the radio/cd player for her. And, most of all, take care of yourself.

over 4 years ago
susanfoster said...

My mom did the same during her last week of life. Reccomend you contact a hospice near you for support and to help you understand what is happening. All of the above are good suggestions.

over 4 years ago
NvSunshine said...

oh my god... my mom is doing this also... thanks for this post

over 4 years ago
Lola Bell said...

My mom is in the same situation.My father-in-law lived with us also with Alzheimer and did not eat for over two years. He just had ensure. It must not be so bad. I know when I can not keep food in me i would much rather drink thngs that keep me from throwing up and let my digestion rest. Comfort is the best. My prayers are with you.

over 4 years ago
Janet Beeching said...

My Uncle lived to be 101, the last 25 years he lost the ability to swallow because of a stroke, and he was fed through a tube into his stomach. He had 4 cans of ensure daily for 25 years, and thrived! If Ensure helps keep her stomach calm, and she's receiving nutrition, don't worry about it. Like the lady before me said, go for the comfort. I know it's engrained in us that we must eat, but actually, an elderly person, who is not spending calories with activity, needs far fewer calories to survive. God Bless and Good luck.

over 4 years ago
sweetbch said...

my mom is 77 and lives with me. she has dementia-alzheimers. it seems like she is doing the gagging thing everyday now or throwing up a little.i find this happens most when she trys to eat any kind of bread??

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over 4 years ago

My mother-in-law has similar problems. The nursing home ordered a barium swallow test and the problem for her is delayed swallow initiation. The speech language pathologist put her on a Dysphagia 2 Diet that eliminates bread. She can only have pureed veggies and ground meat. Also, only nectar thick liquids. The gagging and vomiting is her body's way of avoiding the food going down her windpipe.

over 4 years ago

My Mom takes an appetite stimulant called Megestrol. This was prescribed by her doctor because of loss of appetite due to chemo for pancreatic cancer. I understand it is used for all sorts of conditions that cause loss of appetite. She no longer has chemo but continues to take this because she still has little appetite and was losing weight. Good luck!

over 4 years ago
foggie said...

My mama is 82 and has dementia, we have been caring for her at home. She got were she complaned about her stomach and got to were she would not eat or drink. We took her to all kind of doctors and hospital emerg. rooms and they could never find anything wrong with her. Finally she got so weak that we took back to emerg. room. They finally found that she had a kidney infection,she stayed in the Hosp. for 9 days. So make sure there is not an underlying condition that it could be causing her not to eat!

over 4 years ago
jonce123 said...

I really appreciate all the informative suggestions given here. My mother will be 96 next month; she will not eat or drink--but then she is pretty much bedridden due to compression fractures/deteriorating disks in her back--so very little exercise.

A couple of weeks ago, I introduced Ensure Plus, and most of the time, she drinks one of those a day.

My biggest problem is her begging me to give her "something" so she won't have to wake up the next day; the doctor has put her on anti-depressants. I hope they help.

Even though she has hearing aids, she doesn't hear well. But, tonight, I will again try setting up a CD player so she can listen to some soothing music--I think it might help.

over 4 years ago
sweetiepoo said...

Her doc needs to assess the reason WHY she is not eating! WHY the nausea, gagging, etc.! DO NOT WAIT! MY MOTHER DIED WHILE I TRIED TO FIGURE IT OUT MYSELF, (LIKE YOU ARE DOING) her stomach was bleeding from the aspirin regimen that had been previously prescribed!

over 4 years ago
mimaa said...

Is your mom on aricept? The reason I am asking is that when my dad was put on aricept he too would throw up or he would refuse to eat. We took him off this medication and the doctor put him on the Exolon patch and B12 vitamin. My dad has had dementia/ alzeimers for 11 years and he still has a good appetite. I hope this helps.

over 4 years ago
nootkabear said...

I can't remember when I have so many very good replies to such a question. Yall are all wonderful and have given very good advice. For anyone taking care of an elderly person, it can be very stressful, and can really take a lot out of you.

The advice about finding out the underlying reasons for the reactions to eating should not be taken lightly. If there is something causing the problems, you need to know, and it can be treated. Sometimes, getting the elderly to agree to go to the doctor can in itself be a chore.

Our prayers are with each and every one of you!

over 4 years ago
diasue said...

I went through much the same thing with my Mom, who has mild to moderate dementia. She dropped for 106 lbs. to 101 lbs. I learned that her problem was teeth related. Over the years she had lost so much weight that her dentures did not fit correctly. So over many visits to the dentist, we finally got her teeth adjusted where they were no longer causing her pain. She is still a nibbler, but I will generally cut up any difficult food into very tiny pieces for her, so that she can swallow whole if need be. Having caps on my own teeth, I know how very difficult it is to bite through some foods with those caps. So if she has false teeth, take her to the dentist to make sure they fit correctly. I have also honed in on foods my Mom absolutely loves. Breakfast arround her is soft boiled eggs. Snacks ar things like ice cream and strawberries. Rather than trying to feed her a lot all at once, I will give her things throughout the day. A cookie here, some ice cream there. She doesn't have much of an appetite, but when I simply give her something to nibble on from time to time, I found that I have won this battle for the time being as she is back up to 106 lbs. Hope this helps! Sue

over 4 years ago
diasue said...

I also want to add that I don't ask her when I had her snacks as she will inevitably say, "No." So when I get a snack to eat for myself, I just walk over and hand her a snack too. She'll take it, and won't give me a refusal. Of course, through all of this, I've managed to put on weight as well!

over 4 years ago
LindaSue said...

How fond of the dentist is your mom? Her teeth may hurt too much to chew and she is afraid to say anything, for fear she will have to see one. She may also be concerned about the expense, and knows medicare won't pay. . . .and does not want to put you out. Thank the Lord, she will drink Ensure! I had a patient that used only ensure in a feeding tube to his stomach, for several years. Not the best solution (no pun intended) but she can subsist. Bless you for your concern!

over 4 years ago
LindaSue said...

My mom-in-law wanted to join pops - she did, by refusing to eat. The girls would fix all her favorites, but mom wanted "out". She did the only thing she knew she could do on her own. May she rest in peace. . . . .

over 4 years ago
learning said...

There may be underlying causes for not eating. However, it may be the body's way of preparing to die. My now 86 year old mother gradually quit eating and drinking over about an 18 month period. Eventually, she went into kidney failure from dehydration and spent three weeks in the hospital. She has mild/moderate Alzheimers. My father passed away in March. Since my sister lives out of state, I have been her sole caregiver since January. I can see the process starting all over again. She is not vomiting, but usually only takes two to four bites per meal and will not drink Ensure or Boost. She now is on hospice and their book "Gone From My Sight, The Dying Experience" by Barbara Karnes has been so helpful in understanding this process. Having this information before would have saved the family an enormous amount of stress during the time leading up to her kidney failure and my father's death.

over 4 years ago
DMKing said...

I am a 28yr, caregiver for dementia, but specialize in end of life Alz. I cared for both my parents who both passed away at home 2yrs ago, 14days apart.............My mother had early onset ALZ and was bedridden for the last seven years of her life as a total care. I am now a Live in to a 88yrs young lady who has ALZ, she can dress herself and does walk some and is incont. She has been very spoiled by her family these past few years by her family and she really want to be babied and pampered over, (I believe in the use of showing love but not the total pampering stuff, they need to do things as long as they posibly can and I am strong in making her do that) She is a nibbler and has began to eat so little that she is losing weight too. She does drink Ensure Plus (350 cal), she has been to swallow specialist and she is fine and hate to say this but is just and actress and wants you to do things for her, I do feed her if she gets to be nibbling and deciding that she has had enough, but again will drink ensure!!! So this is what I am doing NOW............. I bought infant rice and oatmeal cereal, also fruit and veg with chicken and or beef sone veggies too. and lots of flavors of pudding the kind that does not need to be refrigerated. I mix cereal up[ small amounts and and a fruit and a pudding!! MIX Ensure with it now you have a nutritious fattening meal, I use a measuring cup so I know how much I have made and have got it now down to two ensure bottles the mixure is a bit thick which helps them swallow if you need to thin it more I am using WHOLE milk. She like sweet potatoes so I make mashed potatoes add sweet potatoe baby food and she eats that, but I have to feed her it. It will take time to figure out combinations that they will like and the sweeter the better.............. I hope that this helps you and the many others out there, I use the largest straws I can find (WENDY"S works for me)

over 4 years ago
stella10 said...

Thank you for all of your responses! It really helps to have the support. I just this week was thinking of trying the baby food with my Mom and see how that works. It seems that anything we give her, besides Ensure or Boost, she starts gagging or throws up....apple sauce, pudding, yoguart. So I'm not sure the baby food will work, but I'm going to give it a try! She is so weak now, she has to be held on to when walking around the house,which, she doesn't want to do very often. She prefers sleeping all the time!! Oh this is so hard to see her like this, but I will be here for her for as long as I'm needed.

about 4 years ago
lapearson said...

I am caring for my 85 yr old mother-in-law with dementia. In the past 5 months she went from walking to a wheelchair, and now is completely bed ridden. She hasn't been out of bed for the past 2 months. I got her an alternating pressure mattress to keep her body from developing bed sores. It has worked like a miracle! Over the past two weeks, she has pretty much stopped eating. She shuts her mouth like a vice and I have to be creative to get her to open up for food. I am so thankful for all of these posts about nutrition, as I have been struggling with the fact that all she eats/drinks each day is a tiny bit of Ensure (through an eyedropper) and a little of bit of yogurt that I use to get her medication into her. She is dropping weight like crazy and is so frail that I am afraid to move her even to change her depends. Thankfully, I have a home health nurse who comes in every two weeks to check on her. She is coming today, thank God!! I look forward to her visits to give me direction of the proper care for Mom.

about 4 years ago
susanfoster said...

I strongly reccommend hospice They are more concerned with your mother's comfort and will help you to know what is happening with your mom so you really understand. It is hard unless someone ois really honest with you. I went through this in May, My mom was actually trying to keep herself comfortable as she was approaching the last few days of her life. Hospice told me to offer but not force feed. They helped me to understand why. My family all got together to be with mom in her last days. She actually waited until everyone got her, opened her eyes and smiled when my last son son made it in. That was the last time she opened her eyes, 29 hrs. later she passed away peacefully with everyone here in my home. It was a blessing that we knew what to expect, why certian things were happening, and how to help mom. Gods bless you for careing for your mom, it's not easy, but you will reap a comforted heart knowing you did the very best for your mom.

about 4 years ago
lapearson said...

Thanks for the comforting words Susan. I will contact hospice for an evaluation. I thought that I had to have a "doctor" diagnoise her as "terminal" before I could even think about contacting hospice. Thanks for the hug - I needed that!

about 4 years ago
susanfoster said...

hELLO AGAIN, hOSPICE HAS CERTIAN CRITERIA dEMENTIA AND aLZHEIMERS AUTOMATICALLY QUALIFY. YOU'RE IN MY PRAYERS. dO CONTACT THEM TODAY. tHERE IS ALWAYS SOMEONE THERE TO ANSWER PHONES AND GET YOU TO THE RIGHT PERSON. gOD bLESS

about 3 years ago

My mom is 74 and I am having the same problem at least I know it must be common

about 3 years ago
rwstag1 said...

hi my mother in law is not able to talk very well and her son thinks it is because we do not interact with her enough i try every day to get her to tell me what it is she wants i try to get her to read but she just can not see the words. how can i tell him this is one of the stages of dementia help i'm at a lose he wants me to get her to talk clear and i do not think she can any more

about 3 years ago
DolphinsCry said...

Megistrol...that did zero, zip, zilch for my grandmothers appetite. I do not know if anything else could have.

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about 3 years ago

She needs to get her trach stretched. My mother did the same thing.

about 3 years ago
DolphinsCry said...

Trach stretched....I assume my grandmother's stupid b&&&& of a doctor should have suggested this?

Her last months, she could not even speak clearly.

about 3 years ago
JMom said...

My Mom couldn't keep any food or liquid down. She is 91. It turned out that she had a blocked esophagus, which they stretched. Happens to young people also. She's having a hard time coming back from the procedure to stretch it, the hospitalization, and the many days of not eating.

over 2 years ago
Penny1cent said...

My mom, age 101, with severe dementia is being released from the hospital today with Hospice care. She had a UTI, was very dehydrated and her sodium levels high. She cries out whenever they hook her up to IV etc. She spits any food or drink out, and yells, " leave me alone! Don't hurt me any more! " Her speech is also mumbled. At 101, we hate to put her through more tests. She just wants to be left alone. She has always been a good eater. Never a good drinker except for coffee! I keep thinking if she would just start eating she would feel better. The IV comes out today and she'll be going to a lovely adult care home, where Hospice will assess her. What's going to happen to her now without the IV? If she would just eat and drink I think she would go back to her sweet, yet confused self. Thank you for this site! Penny

over 2 years ago
Lola Bell said...

Hi Penny1cent, The most frustrating things about Dementia/Alzheimer's is there is no two cases alike, all symptoms are different for each person, What works for one doesn't work for someone else. You have to take each moment as it come and treat is differently. My mother stopped eating too and did not want anyone around her, nor did she want any more tests to be done. We did stop all the testing, there was nothing more they could do for her anyway. She had more peaceful day without all the test. I started making her super healthy delicious green shakes with her vitamins and medications in it . Most days "she loved it" some days she would spit it at me. That is all she ate for over 6 months. All you can do is hope and pray for the patients to love her even when she doesn't want you around. The word is so confusing for those who don't know what things are for, what people are doing and sometimes who you are.Most people don't understand the helplessness you feel while caring for someone in this situation. This website helped me for years. Come often for strength and love. My prayer are with you.

over 2 years ago
Penny1cent said...

It's penny again. Mom did really well her first two days after getting out of the hospital. Then she was given something to help her sleep at night. Now she's sleeping day and night and won't eat or drink. What is happening?

over 2 years ago
Lola Bell said...

Could they be over medicating her? My thoughts are with you and your mom.

over 2 years ago
rwstag1 said...

i give her ensure on her oatmeal in the morning they seem to go for sweet things so i do ice cream and work fruit in to her food she is 94 years old with dementia some days she is very winie and crys alot because she does not under stand why she can not go home.the hard part is she will not do the leg exercises so her legs are getting weak

almost 2 years ago
gundy said...

My Mom has dementia. She had very bad back pain with new spine fracture(no falls) she was in the hospital for 7 day now in rehab for walking. She stopped eatting , said she will get sick if she eats. Very confused sense this all happened. Is this a new stage or is it from the trama from the back pain

almost 2 years ago
Penny1cent said...

When you are in a lot of pain, nothing makes sense. Sometimes the Meds contribute to the confusion. On days my mom won't eat, her caregivers heat up Ensure and give it to her as coffee. She loves her coffee and will drink it. As long as she drinks water and Ensure, that may be enough until her pain subsides and she,s ready to eat again.

over 1 year ago
HeatherG said...

My mother 86 has been vomiting since mid December. She went into hospital because she fell. Then the meds they put her on and antibiotic made her sick. Now she cannot even stand or hold up her head, she has lost so much weight. She said she wants to go she cannot live like this. I am so sad because I want to take her home and I can't because I have to work. I wouldn't be able to look after her like this but part of me wants to do it to save her life and part of me feels she is dying and I can do nothing. Its a horrible part of life to see someone so good and a wonderful mother suffering in this way!

over 1 year ago
Lola Bell said...

I can hear your sadness and suffering HeatherG, I am so sorry. It is so painful to see someone you love suffering so much. She is lucky to have you. Love without suffering is not love at all and in the long run "God is Love" and Love is what God gives us to share. Love her as much as you can and make every moment count while she goes thru her transformation to everlasting life. May the Peace and Love of God be with you and your Mother.

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over 1 year ago

It is so hard to get my spouse to eat anymore. It is a challenge everyday. He likes my homemade applecrisp with ice cream. I make it twice a week. He has lost 60 pounds in the last 5 months. He was a 220 lb, 6'3" man, and now he is a shell of himself. He can barely walk to the bathroom with his walker. He says many times he does not know how long he can live like this. He is a diabetic and a stroke patient. I am lucky that I get a good breakfast into him in the morning, shredded wheat, yogurt, a half of banana and a bit of cheese. He will drink a glass of OJ. But the rest of the day goes downhill fast! It is so stressfull watching him just waste away everyday! He will not drink ensure. I feel so bad for what some of you are going through. These post are a GOD send for me and help me a lot!!! Thank You!!

over 1 year ago
HeatherG said...

Thank you Lola Bell for your thoughtful words and to Anonymous Caregiver, I feel your pain. I have been making Chicken Soup for my mom, a liquidised meal and bringing it into the hospital. She says to me 'that's lovely chicken soup', it's the only thing she is eating and it seems to perk her up for a little bit. For what ever time left we have with her, it's the best thing I can do at the moment to give her some strength.

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over 1 year ago

my 92 year old mom has been living with me fir the past four years. She has congestive heart failure, just had a mild stroke in dec, but has developed dementia as well. For the past two days she eats barely one or two bites at a time. She is in hospice care. She doesn't sleep all night and yells and screams when I am not with her even though there is always a caregiver when I am not there. I am wxhausted and haven't slept in two weeks.

over 1 year ago
Lola Bell said...

I can relate and remember when I was where you are at now. It really takes a tool on you. I still have my journal book to remind me of how thankful I am that she escape the mental torment and went to see God. I was so exhausted and thought I was going to have a heart attack from worrying so much. My Mom didn't know who I was and I knew she was getting close to the end of her life. t was hard, but I put her in a private home right down the street from me. They only had three beds and one was for Hospice patients only. It worked out perfectly! I would walk their and be with her most of the day and walk home and eat, and have a little peace and get some sleep. I only did this for one week and Mom passed away. We knew within 24 hours that she was dying, so I just stayed in my sleeping bag next to her. In looking back I was glad she didn't die here. I had a hard enough time going into her room after I moved her out, but I think it would have been worse if I had the memory of her dying here. If you want to keep her their till the end "who knows when that is" Hospice can do 24 hour shifts if she is close to the end of her life and they can give you or her sleeping pills, so you can get rest. Get some ear plugs and ear muffs, do some meditative prayer and try to get some sleep. You have been such a trooper for four years and you deserve rest. Be good to yourself and in your free time give her lots and lots of Love so you have no regrets. You are in my pryers. Keep us posted.

over 1 year ago
DolphinsCry said...

We got calls that Grandmother wanted people to hold her hands. Ugh, almost 2 years later....I remember saying "She hates my guts and you know it even....my holding her hand is going to stress her out more..."

They played classical music for her. I did not know whether to laugh or cry because she HATED music. The only thing I could remember her liking was "HoleHearted" by Extreme, or the theme songs from Archie Bunker or that Andy Griffith whistling thing.

My ex-boyfriend went to see her atleast. She had liked him.

over 1 year ago
Bmplc said...

Lola Bel thank you for your message. After we tried several medications to no avail we gave her seroquel. The first two nights she slept well , the third night she woke up yelling twice but went back to sleep after I comforted her. Last night was the fourth night on seroquel and it was horrible. She would sleep for one or two hours then wake up yelling for me and she works herself into a fit and gets shortness of breath and extreme agitation. I took me at least an hour each time to calm her and then an hour later the same thing. She would accuse the caregiver who is with her of all kinds of things. I just don't know what to do. I have no siblings around, I am taking all the toll. My husband is being understanding but his sleep too is interrupted.

over 1 year ago
Lola Bell said...

I remember the same thing with my mom. After a while it seemed like the medications just don't seem to work. I tried to sleep some during the day because her sundowners was so bad. After a while Hospice put her on several different high dose patches that basically knocked her out "it broke my heart" but it was best for he and all of us. We even had to call the police one night because she woke out of a peaceful sleep and got up with her walked and started ramming us and said she had to go to work. She had not walked on her own for weeks prier to that. As you know with Dementia or Alzheimer you say good bye to your loved one over and over again. The good news is what you are going thru now will bring you peace when it is all over. I know that's hard to realize now! And I am thinking of you and prying for you, your husband and your mother. Until then God is preparing her a place and will reward you greatly. This site is a gem and it helped me so much. Keep sharing, It helps. Peace be with you

over 1 year ago
Bmplc said...

how long did this go on for your mother? Thank you for your input. It is good to know that others have been through this.

over 1 year ago
Lola Bell said...

She had signs of Alzheimer for 10 years.The last three years she was very needy and had to live with me. The last 8 months were torture for the both of us. I remember the day she forgot my name, she forgot what silverware was for, she would put her underwear on her head. Sometimes it was funny and sometimes I would sob. She held her spoon for hours just staring at it like it was a foreign object. One night I gave her a bowl of soup for dinner. I went into the kitchen to get her some water, when I returned she had her head in the bowl of soup and was drowning. She became violent the last month and I could no longer get close to her to hug her,bath her or feed her unless she was on heavy medication to keep her calm. A few days before she died Hospice gave me a book called "What to expect at the end of life" I wish they would have given it to me sooner because it explained a lot of things I already had gone thru and it could have prepared me better. I will try to find the book and authors name and post it. God Bless

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over 1 year ago

I also went through this my mother. It is so confusing even now, after she has passed. She had a decline in eating for a few months, megase, no longer worked for her...she broke her left hip in November and recovered and then her right hip in January...about 8 weeks apart. She woke up from her surgery saying she was unable to eat. We tried everything...she was sent to rehab, a week later she had to be hydrated and then 2 weeks later again...the doctor at that time told us we needed Hospice. Mom was scared and wanted to continue to try so we took her back to rehab...she still could not eat and she got weaker and thinner. Rehab told us she was not meeting their qualifications and we took her home on Hospice 2 weeks later. 4 days later she made her journey to Heaven. I still do not understand what happened and I miss her everyday. Hospice was wonderful and explained it was the body's way of saying"enough"" ...still hard to understand though. This is a heart-wrenching way for us to watch our loved ones die. I am thankful I could care for her and love her but the inability to eat is soooo very hard to watch. There is a tug on my heart as I have read the different posts,..the desperation in trying to understand....to "fix" what is happening, man, I am so very sorry you are going through this! For the people who have walked this path to the ones that are seeking the "whys" I will pray for you!

over 1 year ago
gundy said...

Mom eats three meals a day now but the back and leg pain has not left her yet. I give her just tyenol 4 times a day no pain meds. The only new problem is she never know when she has to go to the bathroom so Im changing her all the time. But thats ok at least she is still with me. The hardest part of my caregiving is getting her up and down. I think I have pulled every muscle in my legs. Oh and she has started talking and laughing with people that arent their. But that is ok too.....at least she does know who Iam.....Love her so much!

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