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Old 12-05-2006, 01:24 AM   #1
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Question Elderly

Hi, im new here and currently doing research on elderly nutrition

Will Alzheimer's affect elderly nutritional intake?

-aug.

 
Old 12-05-2006, 04:26 AM   #2
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Re: Elderly

I don't know from a medical point of view but from what I have seen over the years, the disease affects the nutritional needs because the victim end's up forgetting how to swallow, chew etc etc and ends up on soft and pureed foods which is a known way to lose nutrients (and enhances weight loss). Their diet needs to be pumped up with extra carbs, more protein by using powdered milk, protein powders sprinkled on anything that's wet (almost LOL) and by eating small but often meals.


Nasty business ..

 
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Old 12-05-2006, 10:18 AM   #3
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Re: Elderly

In my experience of an Alzheimer's patient living alone, the nutritional problems can start many years before a patient reaches the stage where they are unable to properly chew or swallow.

I think the main reason for this is inability to follow the steps needed for a recipe - this develops over time to the point where anything involving more than one step (ie see it - eat it) is too difficult. To a casual observer this could be hard to detect - my SIL still buys vegetables and meat, and tells everyone that she regularly cooks and has a very healthy diet. The truth is, if left to her own devices, her diet would consist soley of chocolate, ice cream, and bread, with occasional fast food - much the same as if a four year old were given license to regulate their own diet.

She does try to cook - but even making a toast is too difficult, almost every day there is evidence that she put bread in the toaster, but forgot to get it out. Even heating up prepared meals that we take over became too much over time, and the health risks of leaving food out of the refridgerator for days

Meals on wheels has been a great help (see it - eat it) although it took several years to get her to accept it. At least she gets one balanced meal a day, and we try to supplement with nutricious food at other times during the day - but you have to get there fast because she will usually have just filled up on ice cream and not want anything else.

 
Old 12-05-2006, 05:26 PM   #4
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Re: Elderly

That brings to mind my Mom's neighbor who has AD. She forgets she has just eaten and then eats again, therefore, she has gained a lot of weight! My aunt, who has AD, was always burning stuff in her microwave. Once my FIL, who has dementia, heated a cup of coffee in a plastic mug for an hour! He can't smell, so he didn't realize it. The microwave had to be thrown out. It was a mess. You just never can tell what they will do next! It's kinda scary.

 
Old 12-06-2006, 06:20 AM   #5
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Re: Elderly

Yes, not eating was one of the first signs for my mom, too.

She lived alone and seemed fine, but started calling the ambulance to take her to the hospital with stomach pains on a regular basis. This was 3 years before the diagnosis with AD.

Finally, one of the nurses told me that they had run every test imaginable. There was nothing wrong with her. The only thing they did notice was that the pain stopped as soon as she was given IV's and then she'd forget why she was there. Very frustrating.

When I started monitoring her groceries, I realized she was living on cookies when she did eat, but most times thought she had already eaten so she didn't prepare any food at all.
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Old 12-06-2006, 11:46 AM   #6
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Re: Elderly

My best friends MIL has AD. Today my friend told me her MIL is not drinking anything during the day and her mouth was so dry they had to get her something from the pharmacy for it. She just doesn't remember to drink, and yet her family still lets her get out and drive. God help us. C

 
Old 12-06-2006, 04:30 PM   #7
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Re: Elderly

Given the choice, my dad would eat bread, cake, donuts and cookies with coffee and that would be it. He's always had a sweet tooth. But since AD has taken hold of his mind, it's really bad. The only way my sister can have sweets in her house now is to hide them. Dad doesn't stop with one donut, a few cookies or one slice of cake. It's the whole box of cookies, half the cake and most of the dozen donuts. And fix a plate for him of meat, vegatables and anything else that's good for him, he'll eat like a bird.

Hmmm, this is a very interesting thread. Everything that people here have mentioned so far (except for forgetting how to chew/swallow) discribes what my dad is going through. I especially can see my dad in georgie's post.

Love, Barb
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Old 12-06-2006, 06:51 PM   #8
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Re: Elderly

Did you know that one of the last senses to leave us is our sweettooth? And did you know Dementia seems to enhance that sense?

Fascinating isn't it?

There is research proving that if you give the Dementia victim dessert FIRST, that that will encourage saliva which in turn will encourage those gastric juices to promote a healthier appetite!!

Worth a try .... !!

Cheers

 
Old 12-06-2006, 10:04 PM   #9
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Re: Elderly

Hi Everyone,

I just have to tell my part. My dad eats like a bird, if my mom cooks for him. She has dementia and he alzheimers. She usually just gives him a tablespoon of this and a table spoon of that and little of that. She does not cook very good anymore. Tries to scrinch out as many meals as possible out of a chicken or a steak or anything!

But, when my dad goes out to eat, boy you watch out! :> He eats everything on his plate. Unless it is just a humongous meal! And neither one drink any water, except to take pills and then not a whole glass! My mom thinks coffee and hot tea are the eqivalent of water. But my FIL has been put in the hospital twice (91), because he does not drink very much water. The funny thing is, he drinks a whole, 1/2 glass of water every day!!!!! :>

Also my aunt, who is in a alz. living center up by Dallas, loves sweets. She picked at her food and wolfed down her pretty and yummy dessert, last time we were up there.

I must admit, that I eat to many sweets also and yummy Starbucks coffee drinks. That is why I am a big round ball! :>

One last note, my dad has started having trouble cutting up his meat - sometimes my mom does it for him. And you do not want to take him to a fast food place, a buffet or a cafeteria. He takes way to long to decide what he wants to eat!!! If no one helped him, he would take 30 min. to decide!

Take care yall.

Love, Wannabe

 
Old 12-07-2006, 03:57 PM   #10
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Re: Elderly

Hey angel_bear! I'll have to tell my sister to try giving dad a piece of pie or whatever sweet things she has before serving dinner. Thanks!

Wannabe, you reminded me of the last time we took dad to a buffet. It took FOREVER to get the man to choose something! And even back then, he went for the sweets right away!

Love, Barb
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Old 01-22-2007, 07:56 AM   #11
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Lightbulb Re: Elderly

thanks for all the replies and information. =D
thanks for the great help.
from the information provided, it seems that AD is a very serious problem and might post a big threat on the elderly's nutrition.
Is there any cure for it?
Would tube-feeding be a better choice for the elderly or even those that has AD?

aug-.

 
Old 01-22-2007, 01:29 PM   #12
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Re: Elderly

Quote:
from the information provided, it seems that AD is a very serious problem and might post a big threat on the elderly's nutrition.
Is there any cure for it?
that is,the proverbial understatment. Serous? Of course it is! Governments are spending billions of dollars in dealing with Aged Care. Families are losing more family members to this disease and it's cousins.

Tube feeding is a personal issue. My opinion is the person is going through enough. Do you really want to put them through more with a peg feed or NG tube? They may be getting 'food' but both those don't help weight gain.

The disease robs you of everything. Even your bodies metabolism. Whatever you can think of that makes a person a person, AD & dementia take it away eventually. There is no cure .. yet .. Australian researchers do have a 'little white pill' that they say probably will cure, but it's not in clinicial trials as yet. We still have another decade before we can look forward to anything positive.

I do advise that you read the many posts previously written and you will see a common thread and it will give you the answers you seek.

 
Old 01-23-2007, 06:33 AM   #13
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Re: Elderly

I hope this doesn't sound rude, but if the person with dementia wants to eat sweets or an otherwise not so healthful diet, so what? As long as they are hydrated, a big problem we had with my Grandmother, so what? They are going to decline no matter what so why not let them be happy? Just another thing to fuss with them over that won't change anything. Exercise, diet, pills and vitamins are pretty well pointless.

 
Old 01-23-2007, 11:26 AM   #14
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Re: Elderly

I agree. If they want sweets give them sweets!

 
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