I have posted here while ago regarding my mom, she is in between moderate to severe alzh her doctor states. she is eating less every day and i have noticed that she is occasionaly choking on her food and her pills. Anyone have any information as to what is happening with that?
This is towards the end stage of the disease. What happens is the brain's inability to direct the throat to swallow. Also whatever food she does get in or liquid she drinks will probably go through her system without replenishing her nutrients and you will start to see the weight fall off.
I'm sorry honey. Give it a few more weeks or months and you'll be writing to us that she has stopped eating completely.
Please do not put her on any feeding tubes. That just keeps the body alive but her brain will have failed her and it wouldn't be humane.
Contact your local hospice or social services group and they'll help you through the remaining process of her life.
You might want to check with her doctor. It could be the result of a GERD, hiatal hernia or other swallowing difficulty that can be treated. Mom does have a hiatal hernia with GERD. When it is irritated she does occassionally choke on her pills and meals. She was put on puree/soft foods for a while and her pills were crushed. After a while the Hiatal Hernia healed to the point that she was eating again. Dry foods such as bread are especially rough on a hiatal hernia. Mom repeatedly choked on sandwiches but could eat the chicken salad, pimento cheese, or egg salad that was in them with no problem. Carbonated drinks were a trigger as well. And antiacid helps.
Otherwise it could be just as Caring said. The brain does forget how to tell the throat to swallow but this is usually in the laster stages of ALZ. They are usually able to handle thickened liquids for a while. Medication is available in liquid form or patches and some can be crushed and added to applesauce of pudding.
It's worth giving the thickened liquid or puree diet a try and finding medication alternatives that don't involve swallowing pills. Add a nutritional supplement a couple of times a day if she will drink it. You an also add milk shakes and other soft high calorie foods. These will help maintain her wait if she is still processing foods.
It is frustrating when Mom is losing weight and unable to eat due to choking. Good luck with finding the correct answers to your Mom's problem. My first step would te talking to her doctor
When my mother began choking on foods, the nursing home switched her to pureed solids and thickened liquids. She was able to swallow things with the consistency of applesauce. Even her meat was put through the blender. Her coffee, water, juice and any other liquid was thickened almost to the consistency of nearly set jello. In this way she was able to continue eating, with help, for several more months. Later her abltiy to process food was gone, and no matter how much or how little she ate, she continued to lose weight. Finally hospice nurses took over her case, and gave her excellent care (at the same NH) until her death. She lived almost a year beween the beginning of the swallowing problem and the end.
Thank you all for your replies, I kinda of thought that she was forgetting how to swallow. Her eating has decreased tremendously over last few months. Sometimes a few bites of soup and maybe few bites of sandwich at nite. She still loves pizza and will want to eat that ok but if asked if she wants it lately she says no. I myself have told the doctor i dont want a feeding tube and the dr totally agrees with me. my dad however is different story and i am going have dr talk to him again.
don't bother having the doctor talk with daddy yet. Its too premature to get a commitment from him of no feeding tube.
Let it go. deal with the today issue and leave that for towards the end. As Martha said, no one knows how much time it can take.
Also, I want you to know that my sister lived through the final days of Mom's life and it was difficult to know that she was dying basically at the edic of her living will with no extrodinary means keeping her alive.
As stated before a feeing tube would keep the body alive but the true essence of the person is no longer there. However it would be difficult for you or your father to live through this -- its at that time the doctor can make your mother very comfortable and at that point he can talk with Dad