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CARENOTES | Past Carenotes | Let's Talk


Welcome to CareNotes. In this special section we will feature a reader's letter and provide an opportunity for an interactive exchange that will help find some answers and possible solutions to concerns. If you wish to respond to this letter, simple follow the link provided at the end of the letter and add your comments and thoughts to our CareNotes Board.

This Week's Carenote - 4/8/14


My mother is at home with me. She is 87 and has diabetes, cancer, dementia and irregular heart. She was in a nursing home, but was not cared for so I brought her home. I need advice on how to encourage her to eat. I have tried everything and all she ever wants is scrambled eggs. I give her a nutritional drink, which she takes eagerly. Is there anything you can advise? She has refused now to get out of bed no matter how much I try to encourage her to move. Please help as this is all new to me.


Caregivers Reply

Shared by: Gloria

Great advice from Bette, Janice, Imelda and Lyla.

Sandi:  You sound very stressed and angry. Please get help to get over your over whelming feelings.

Shared by: Imelda Abad
Carson, CA

Try brushing and cleaning her tongue everyday that way she can taste her food real good then she'll have the appetite to eat. Play happy music everyday that will help her feel perky. Get her into a routine like sit out in the garden at a certain time in the morning with music. Let her walk there with assistance. Have her eat her snack in the garden. Above all start the day with a very nice prayer. Pray aloud with her. God is good. He makes all things beautiful... :)

Shared by: Janice Gibson

At 87 let her eat what she wants. Don't worry about it. Just try to get her to move enough to prevent bed sores.

Shared by: Lyla

Seems to me that your mother is in the process of 'letting go naturally' -- reduced appetite is part of that process. At this point in her life, if all she wants is eggs and the nutritional drink, that's OK. As caregivers we need to remember to choose our battles. I agree with the person who suggests blending fruits and veggies and maybe finding a combination she might like. Also, contacting a home care agency and/or hospice to help you and to help your mother be as comfortable as possible. However, you need to be open and willing to listen to their recommendations to make the most of both of your lives. Peace be with you.

Shared by: Sandi
North Dakota

So--welcome to the world of nursing homes. They didn't care for her so you brought her home to 'do it right' I would guess. NOW you see what they were dealing with. It is hard to respect an elder, allow some decisions/input in care, get them to eat when you want them to, get in/out of bed/chairs/to bathroom/bathed/etc--isn't it? Why should she do anything? You bring it to her. There is probably nothing to do in another room---television/radio so she can see from the bed? everything within reach? daughter changes her? Your mom has dementia---she can not discern what to do! It is unfair to expect her to. Get home health in there now! If you aren't willing for her to be at the nursing home for the appropriate level of care--get care in house! Contact hospice to see if she is a candidate. Many with her diagnosis can be. Try another nursing home if you didn't like the first one. But before you do---what was the real issue with the first one? Was she safe? That takes paramount over everything!! Was it that you were uncomfortable or not in charge? You hired 24/7 professionals to do the care--let them do their jobs!!

Shared by: Bette

As long as she will drink, she'll be fine. You can prepare shakes with ANYthing in it! My 87-year-old Mom prepares her own drinks in the morning in a blender. She loves telling me all the "good stuff" she puts in it that day (and drinks for breakfast AND lunch): Protein power, all kinds of veggies (from spinach, to broccolli, to frozen peas, kale....), a splash of orange or cranberry juice, and some fruit (blueberries, strawberries, banana, peaches....). I have to point this out when my siblings express worry that Mom "isn't eating right": She seems to be getting a LOT of good nutrients! Of course, you can do this for your Mom with her dietary guidelines (especially her diabetes) in mind.

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