alzheimers Victims Loss of Appetite

Reply Thu 4 Jul, 2013 07:29 pm
Need some tips on getting my wife to eat. She is a victim of Alzheimers and actually has no hunger. I am using Boost, Activia, and Protein supplements...I encourage chocolatr bars and Beers , just for the calories..............anyone else got something to add??
Reply Thu 4 Jul, 2013 07:45 pm
Ice cream
This works for my sister (with Dementia)

My understanding is loss of appetite is not uncommon. My sister suffers anemia and has had some weight loss. She is now at an assisted-living facility where they make meals for her. One of us calls her 2x per day (besides regular visits) to remind her to go to the cafeteria and eat.
Her are some of Cleveland Institute's guidelines - particularly regarding appetite issues:

3. I’m having trouble getting my loved one to eat. What can I do?

Good nutrition is important for people with Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, poor nutrition can worsen some symptoms of dementia. Loss of appetite is common in Alzheimer’s disease; loss of appetite can also occur with commonly used treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. To get your loved one to eat, try some of the following:

General guidelines:
•Talk to your loved one’s doctor. Sometimes, poor appetite is due to depression, or other treatable problems.
•Don’t force feed. Try to encourage the person to eat, and try to find out why they don’t want to eat.
•Avoid serving non-nutritious beverages such as black coffee and tea.
•Try to get your loved one to eat more protein and fat and less simple sugars.
•Offer small, frequent meals and snacks.
•Encourage your loved one to walk or participate in other types of light activity to stimulate appetite.
•Consider serving finger foods that are easy for the person to handle and eat.
•Remember to treat the person as an adult, not a child. Don’t punish the person for not eating.

Meal guidelines:
•Serve foods your loved one likes to eat.
•Serve beverages after a meal instead of before or during a meal so your loved one doesn’t feel full before beginning to eat.
•Plan meals to include your loved one’s favorite foods.
•Try getting your loved one to eat the high-calorie foods in the meal first.
•Use your imagination to increase the variety of food you're serving. Prepare meals that offer a variety of textures, colors and temperatures.

Snack guidelines:
•Don't serve foods that provide little or no nutritional value, such as potato chips, candy bars, colas, and other snack foods.
•Choose high-protein and high-calorie snacks.
•Fruits are good snacks.

Dining guidelines:
•Make food preparation an easy task: choose foods that are easy to prepare and eat.
•Make eating a pleasurable experience, not a chore; for example, liven up your meals by using colorful place settings and/or play background music during meals.
•Try not to let your loved one eat alone. If you are unable to eat with your loved one, invite a guest to share their meal.
•Use colorful garnishes such as parsley and red or yellow peppers to make food look more appealing.
cicerone imposter
Reply Thu 4 Jul, 2013 08:01 pm
Sounds like good advise, Ragman. Our good friend is going through dementia, and also having heart problems. We just celebrated his 77th birth just one week ago, and he seemed to be in pretty good spirits. About 50 people were at his birthday party in South San Francisco.
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Reply Thu 4 Jul, 2013 09:05 pm
Does she like fruit smoothies? You can blend up some of her favorite fruit, yogurt, some milk and a little honey. Some of my mom's favorite fruits for smoothie are fresh pineapple, banana, strawberries, blueberries and cantaloupe. Put it in a glass with a straw and let her have at it. She loves fruit but has a hard time chewing it. The smoothies work for her.

Once she's in the habit of liking the fruit smoothies, you can then start sneaking in some veggies with it, things like beets, carrots, spinach, etc.

Also, please read and compare labels for the processed things you buy for her. Most of them are just carbs and empty calories and not very nutritious. Rather than Boost, look into something called AdvantEdge from Abbott Labs (They also make a good variety of high protein meal replacement bars.) Atkins is an alternative brand for the high protein drinks and meal replacement bars but I think the AdvantEdge brand tastes a lot better. Walgreens and probably most drug stores will have these items. They're also available on Amazon as a subscription so they get delivered to the house on a regular basis. It is also a lot cheaper from Amazon.

Rather than the Activia, look for some good quality Greek yogurt such as the Chobani brand. It comes in a wide variety of fruit flavors, has full fat, lowfat and nonfat versions, is a lot higher in protein, lower in calories and sodium, and they don't use chemical thickeners, but strain the yogurt to achieve thickness.

My mom also has dementia and she takes a good daily multivitamin/mineral supplement. Because of that, I can focus on getting as much protein into her as I can with high protein drinks, high protein meal replacement bars and her favorite snack foods. She tends to eat a lot of sweets and the various chocolate meal replacement bars seem to satisfy her sweet tooth while getting some extra protein in her. She has a difficult time chewing and loves the Blue Belle chocolate and vanilla ice cream I buy in 4 ounce cups (they're just the right quantity for her), as well as easy to chew crackers. She also likes to have oatmeal in the morning with a banana sliced into it.
Reply Thu 4 Jul, 2013 09:08 pm
re1ndeer wrote:

Need some tips on getting my wife to eat. She is a victim of Alzheimers and actually has no hunger. I am using Boost, Activia, and Protein supplements...I encourage chocolatr bars and Beers , just for the calories..............anyone else got something to add??

My mother was diagnosed with Altzheimers when she was 58. It wasn't a fast moving disease in her case and when she stopped eating the first time her weight dropped rapidly, she lost all energy and curled up in a fetal position. We were convinced she was not going to pull out of it, but my Dad tried everything. When he tried Ensure, she made a remarkable recovery. It reversed the weakened state, she became alert, got out of bed and started walking around on her own. It didn't stop or slow the Altzheimers, but it gave her nutrition she needed, and hydration as well.

When you are dehydrated you tire easily, the older we get the quicker we can get dehydrated. I don't know if your wife will take to the Ensure, but try to pick a flavor she usually likes, perhaps chocolate. My Mom liked all the flavors, but my mother-in-law wouldn't drink any of them unless we jazzed it up with ice cream, or chocolate syrup. Don't buy the low calorie, no fat versions, she needs the nutrition and she will be happier with things that are tasty.

Being a care taker is very difficult and sometimes exhausting, so pay attention to your health as well. I'm not a medical professional, but the disease runs in my family. My mother was diagnosed at a much earlier age than anyone else in the family. If it happens, it doesn't show up until someone is in their early 80's.
Try to find a support network near where you live. You can PM me if you want more details, but I hope this helps. Good luck to you and your wife.
Reply Thu 4 Jul, 2013 09:15 pm
Backing up everything that glitterbag said.

If you're on Facebook, there are several good dementia/caregiver support groups there. One of my favorites is called Forget Me Not and you should be able to do a search for it on FB. It has a mixture of caregivers and people with dementia and Alzheimers so we get a well-rounded point of view and understanding of things.

Also, regarding the hydration issue, if she likes iced tea, make a small, fresh pitcher of it every day (use decaffinated tea if that's a problem) and you can mash up and infuse some of her favorite fruits into it too. Challenge her to finish the pitcher of tea every day.
Reply Thu 4 Jul, 2013 10:04 pm
Thank you for taking the time for such a good amount of info....
Reply Thu 4 Jul, 2013 10:06 pm
I just tried something like that with Ensure, an egg, and some protein Powder,,,,, ,,thanks some much for the reply
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Reply Thu 4 Jul, 2013 10:10 pm
You're very welcome. The understatement of the year is to say that this is NOT easy to deal with, but much harder for your wife, naturally.

Patience can be a difficult commodity to come by - especially when you're short of sleep and stressed out at the same time, too. Get lots of rest when you can. The caretaker often underestimates the demand on them and their own needs.
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Reply Thu 4 Jul, 2013 10:18 pm
The FB idea is worth looking into........Thanks again to everyone...I was the heavy smoking, High Risk ,bacon eater, and my wife was a lot more moderate, and go figure.......now the duties have changed 180 degrees.........I'm the Domestic Engineer care giver............good thing I paid a little attention the past 30 years to the household chores...........It only took 3-4 days for this step change, I think the de-hydration tip may be a key.......have water bottle set up beside her right now.....Super thanks again to everyone.......seeing Doc tomorrow about blood pressure meds also..
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