Dementia and Appetite Issues at the End of Life

Hospice Elder Care in Folsom CA

Hospice Elder Care in Folsom CA

Dementia creates a wide range of changes in your elderly family member’s life, especially as she nears the end of her life. Many of those changes can affect your senior’s appetite, which can cause her to eat less than she did in the past. She may even stop drinking beverages, which can create medical problems as well. Here’s what you need to know.

Memory Is the Biggest Issue, Typically

Memory issues can be huge when it comes to appetite problems, oddly enough. If your elderly family member doesn’t remember when she last ate or when she should really eat again, she’s less likely to think about it at all. Her body also may not register the same prompts to remind her to eat. Even with help, your elderly family member may resist eating if she isn’t sure whether she already ate or not.

Reduced Activity Levels Affects Appetite

Another factor is that as dementia progresses, your elderly family member is less likely to be as physically active as she normally is. This can cause her appetite to significantly decline. Over time, that decrease in appetite lowers her energy even more, causing your senior to be less active simply because she doesn’t have the energy to be more active. It’s a vicious cycle that can be upsetting to witness.

Too Much Stimulus During Mealtimes Can Be a Problem

People with dementia often find that normal activities, like a meal with family members, can be overwhelming. If that’s the case for your elderly family member, she may not be comfortable eating in those situations. Also, if there are too many things on the table or too many food options, that can be equally overwhelming for her.

It Can Be a Challenge for Your Senior to Communicate

Communication is often difficult for people with dementia and it can become more of an issue as the illness progresses. Working with hospice elder care can be helpful for both you and your senior, because they’ve got experience helping families affected by dementia and other terminal conditions. They can help you to determine what is most likely to make meals easier and more productive for your elderly family member.

Dysphagia and Other Physical Concerns

One of the biggest concerns may be dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing. As your senior’s dementia worsens, she’s more likely to have physical difficulties eating. Hospice elder care can help your elderly family member to use techniques and tools that can minimize those effects on her ability to get the nutrients that she needs. They can also help to make foods easier for your senior to eat, by offering pureed options and other choices that are easier for her to ingest.

Finding the right solutions for your elderly family member’s needs as she nears the end of her battle with dementia is really important in order to maintain her quality of life. If she does stop eating, her doctor may have other suggestions, such as supplements, that can help her to get the nutrients that she needs.

If you are considering hospice elder care in Folsom, CA, for an aging loved one, please contact the caring staff at PIC Comfort Care today. Call (530) 885-9948.