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Golden years

When an old person with diabetes and memory loss keeps losing weight, how can you tempt her to eat?

PS The lady isn't my relative. She's the mother of a friend who might be reading this.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 23rd, 2014 09:09 am (UTC)
Ooh, thats hard. I have a relative with dementia who forgets to eat or doesnt eat enough.

Set alarms or notes as reminders saying 'Lunch time - eat a can of soup' 'Tea time - have a sticky bun' or whatever? Or could someone phone to remind them? Is there a local social meal group (such as a church lunch club) they could go to? Could someone shop with them once a week and then label cans of soup (or whatever) with days of the week and maybe the time to eat it? That would also help to monitor the situation to see whether there is a particular day or time that needs more support. Do they have something they reliably do, like taking pills or watching Countdown, which eating something (even a snack) could be added to? So the routine becomes 'get a sandwich, make a cuppa, watch Countdown while eating sandwich'? Even if you have to put a sign on the TV saying 'Eat today's sandwich during Countdown.'?

More generally I seem to recall reading about this as a problem in dementia when looking for help for my relative, try the Alzheimers Society (who support all forms of memory loss & have factsheets & helpline) or similar groups.

I know the diabetes may complicate things (maybe they cant have tempting sweet treats?) but I would certainly look into tactics relating to the memory loss, & adapt for this person as necessary.

E2A: I should also have suggested if the family cant visit at mealtimes (and that is a very onerous thing to do!) you can ask social services to assess for a care package, to provide someone to help her eat (ie come in, plate it up, prompt her to eat it). The only issue is that they will award care in 15 minute chunks, so if they think she needs someone to attend twice a day 5 days a week, say, they would award 2.5 hours. While you can ask for direct payments and employ someone yourself to do that, it can be very hard to find someone to do these jobs little and often. So then youd be likely to find only an agency will do the regular short visits. Some agencies are great, but you may find different people visiting, and they may run late, and I dont know if this would help or be too bewildering - depends on the person I imagine. But going to local adult social services and asking for an assessment is the first step: if you ask, they are obliged to do it, but will probably try to get out of it by providing a list of care agencies and suggesting you pay them privately. The process can take a few months to complete.

Good luck!

Edited at 2014-02-23 02:24 pm (UTC)
Feb. 23rd, 2014 11:27 am (UTC)
Have you looked into meal delivery services? Some of them manage to be pretty good food (high end ready meal/pub grub, put it that way) without being horribly expensive (and there may be a local council grant, or subsidy available for someone who is elderly, disabled, etc).
It varies a lot by area, but you should be able to request diabetic-friendly meals, and the regularity of it, plus the human contact of someone turning up, might be a useful way to get one hot meal into her a day at least. There may also be a financial push to it, in that if she, or someone else, has paid for these dishes, she 'ought' to eat them.
Feb. 23rd, 2014 02:05 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately the traditional Meals On Wheels - hot meal delivered daily - has generally been replaced by councils funding suppliers like Wiltshire Farm Foods, who deliver frozen meals weekly or fortnightly. Which can then easily get forgotten in the freezer. So you'd still need a reminder system or routine change, whether buying from them or a weekly supermarket shop.
Feb. 23rd, 2014 04:10 pm (UTC)
It varies a lot by area though, so it's worth checking, and there are sometimes private options which do a daily or at least multiple-times-a-week service. (Eta, eg Wiltshire FF is actually owned by appetito who do daily hot meals too)

Edited at 2014-02-23 04:26 pm (UTC)
Feb. 24th, 2014 01:05 am (UTC)
Oh, good! I checked several areas (basically any I knew postcodes for) across UK and all said they use WFF and you have to order fortnightly.

Great if that isnt the case!
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