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Meal Plan
JanieHunt2 posted:
I have been taking care of my mother-in-law for about 5 yr. now. She was 89 when I started, will be 94 this Oct. Lately she has been refusing meals and losing weight. Is there anything I can do to her meals to get her to eat. I've heard of caregivers putting sugar on food. Is this something that anyone has tried? If so how and how much?

Janie Hunt
cjh1203 responded:
Hello Janie. How kind of you to care for your mother-in-law during the past several years. As everyone here knows well, it's a very difficult job.

Here's an article about Alzheimer's patients and eating problems.

I'm sorry to say it but sometimes, when a patient stops eating, it's because her body is shutting down. Hard as it is, it can better not to fight it in that case. Trying to make her eat when she isn't up to it can be stressful for her and actually make her feel worse.

Has her doctor seen her recently? If your mother-in-law really is approaching the end of her life, your doctor should be able to prescribe hospice care. The hospice workers will keep her as comfortable and happy as possible and provide a lot of support to you and your family. Normally, hospice is recommended by a doctor when a patient's life expectancy is six months or less.

Perhaps, though, your mother-in-law is not yet at that point and some of the pointer in the article will help.

Best wishes to you.

davedsel responded:
Hello and welcome.

I am sorry you are going through this with your MIL. Kudos to you for being a good care taker.

My FIL passed away this past February from CHF and advanced dementia. Towards the end he could no longer eat, so my MIL and wife were giving him Ensure. You could try that and see if she likes it.

Have you talked to her doctor about this? There could be something physical going on or part of advanced Alzheimer's.

I pray you can find ways to keep your MIL happy.

Judith L London, PhD responded:
Hi JanieHunt2,

I thought I responded to you but there may have been a glitch.

It is great that you have given such good care to your mother-in-law. As for her diminished eating, try to give her anything she likes. Ice cream, chocolate milk shakes with protein powder all help. She may have forgotten how to eat and needs instruction from an occupational or speech therapist; the latter can tell if she is having a swallowing problem and needs to be given food of a different consistency. I don't recommend simply putting sugar in her food without knowing more about the situation.

If she shows an interest in food from spoon feeding, you will be able to see if food still interests her.

Hope you get some relief,
rinaric15 responded:
home health care givers are professionals they know how to take care of their patients. i think you must consult them, they will take care of your mother in law in the comfort of your home.

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