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Everyday Ageism

Mom Not eating?

(26 Posts)
Arlicohe Tue 12-Jan-21 17:48:29

Hi there,
Mom is 84, widowed, and she doesn't eat. No breakfast, Maybe a handful of animal crackers with her 3 cups of coffee.
if she does eat, it's around 1:00 in the afternoon, and that's dinner.
most times, she lives off of 2 cups of fruit jello and junk food, like chips, slim jims.
there are days she doesn't eat any meals. 'she's tired of eating the same foods, everything tastes funny ( it was like this before Covid ever happened), she forgot or she's not hungry'. She doesn't cook anything, so IF she eats, it's frozen dinners, which I'm ok with.
I've tried explaining to her that she's doing more harm than good.
I ask her every day if she's eaten, and I know she lies to me, because my brother and myself are getting on her about it.
I'm at wit's end, and need some advice!
please and thank you in advance!

LauraNorder Tue 12-Jan-21 18:02:43

A small Sherry before lunch might improve her appetite. Maybe she can’t be bothered prepping and cooking, perhaps you could organise some ready meals such as Wiltshire Foods, others are available, which can be heated in the microwave. I haven’t tried them but am told they are very tasty. The choices look good.

M0nica Tue 12-Jan-21 18:03:08

You cannot make her eat well if she does not want to. If she is in her right mind then if she chooses to eat badly she has every right to make that decision and stick with it, however much it may upset you.

That is the bad news. The other side is that many people who develop habits like your mothers are depressed or taking too many (prescription) drugs.

In the UK (I think you are posting from the US) the next step would be to encourage her to see her doctor and get a full mental and physical assessment and ask to have her prescription drugs checked over. Too often doctors just prescribe one drug after the other, in isolation, as each medical problem presents and do not consider, whether overall some of the drugs have bad interactions, or are no longer needed.

After that, if she is found fit and well, in her right mind and on the right drugs, then, I am afraid, it is back to the bad news.

cornishpatsy Tue 12-Jan-21 18:04:12

She will not starve on what she is eating and has managed to reach 84 deciding on her own meals.

Maybe suggest some vitamin supplements but apart from that I would not worry about it or hassle her, she is not listening to you, you cannot make her eat and are only causing yourself worry and upset.

Peasblossom Tue 12-Jan-21 18:19:40

I definitely can’t eat the same size meals as I did when younger. I feel full quite quickly. You may be wanting her to eat too much.

Also her mouth may be tender and chewing or crispy foods may be difficult.

Add in the bother it. I loathe cooking. I can see where your mums coming from. On my own I’d probably be the same.

How about a supply of protein drinks. If she has a couple of those a day she’ll be ok.

Esspee Tue 12-Jan-21 18:25:42

I used to make up tiny portions of our dinner and freeze them to take to my mother. We had a carer call in at lunchtime who would microwave what I had prepared. Once it became an established part of her day I very gradually increased the amount of food.
You can also get little boxes of high protein shakes as meal replacements. I introduced them as “special treats” not meal replacements and prepared tiny portions of fresh fruit to pick on when I called. Two grapes halved, two cubes of melon, a couple of raspberries maximum. I always needed to take the container home ? so she would finish it up no trouble at all.
Homemade soup was a good standby when she refused meat and vegetables.
I hope this helps.

Santana Tue 12-Jan-21 18:36:29

Can I suggest Complan ( not sure I'm supposed to as trade name)
It comes in chocolate which was my mum's favourite. It seemed to give her appetite a lift as she began to feel it's benefit.
I bought it in the supermarket but know you can get it on line. The plain variety can be mixed with soups etc.

Oopsadaisy1 Tue 12-Jan-21 18:41:59

She is eating! In fact she seems to be eating quite a lot, Just not what you would call a proper meal, at 84 I figure she can eat what she wants, maybe she isn’t up to cooking?
Why don’t you and your siblings prepare food for her so that she can freeze it and thaw it when she wants to, or buy some decent frozen meals for her? But TBH I would leave her, if she gets hungry enough and has food in the house she will eat it.
By the way, how does she get her shopping ? Because someone must be buying the stuff that you disapprove of.

Jaxjacky Tue 12-Jan-21 18:46:13

Are her teeth ok? She is eating, just probably not as much as you do or expect, but teeth, mouth ulcers may be a problem.

Tangerine Tue 12-Jan-21 18:48:07

Does your mother drink milk? Milk is not a substitute for every food type but there is a lot of goodness in it. Could she persuaded to perhaps drink more milk?

NotSpaghetti Tue 12-Jan-21 18:54:36

Just wondering how close you and your brother live to her?
Is it possible to pop over once a week each and check on supplies? Does she have a microwave? That might help with small pots of soup or macaroni cheese or whatever.
I expect she can't be bothered to get stuff out of the freezer. My mother-in-law has decided it's just too much bother some days but always has a pot or two of something small and easy in the fridge.
Does she cook at all?
Oh, and I wonder if she'd eat rice pudding sometimes instead of jello?
How are her teeth?
The milkshake with vitamins idea is a good one.
Is she doing her own shopping?
Sorry, lots of questions...

V3ra Tue 12-Jan-21 19:09:21

I'd also suggest a Home Care service that could call in and put a meal on the table for her, and maybe prepare something dainty for tea time.

My own Grandma had always cooked a good meal every day, but when she was widowed she'd just open a tin of rice pudding as "it wasn't worth cooking just for me."

sodapop Tue 12-Jan-21 19:19:16

I suggest you back off for a while Arlicohe I would think your Mother is fed up with her family nagging her. At 84 years of age she is entitled to eat what she wants. I understand you worry about her but its her choice and should be respected.
If you really want to offer food then Esspee had some good ideas with small portions of fruit etc and home made soup.

GrannyLaine Tue 12-Jan-21 19:26:53

I would tend to agree with those who feel that at her age, she can choose what she wants to eat - with one proviso. Elderly people who are developing memory problems often complain that their food "tastes funny". If you don't feel this is an issue, I'd let her do what she's happy doing

tidyskatemum Tue 12-Jan-21 21:01:44

I used to visit DM on a Friday, take her out for a pub lunch, which she always tucked into, then supermarket shopping to get her fridge stocked with ready meals and treats for the weekend. I would go back on Monday and find everything still in the fridge and all she’d eaten was a couple of packets of biscuits. She used to tell her lunchtime career I was coming to take her out for tea and the teatime carer that she’d had a big lunch. I learned there was no point making a big deal out of it as she would just eat even less.

paddyanne Tue 12-Jan-21 21:52:07

I used to cook for my mother and put portions in her fridge to last two or three days at a time.She was a really bad eater so I even fed her when she was in hospital.Now I'll spend a Sunday doing food for my MIL's freezer as she's too far away to deliver every day .things like mince or Irish stew ,mini quiches and steak pies and lots of soups in individual portions .She eats them because I cook them and will call me to tell me what she had and if she enjoyed it.
It might not be an answer for you but maybe someone could help .
The secret is dont freeze everything ,they forget to take it out so leave some ready to heat in her fridge.
Hope you get her sorted its a worry when your mum wont eat .

welbeck Tue 12-Jan-21 23:33:17

i think this lady needs more care, ideally by someone coming in to her house and preparing a light meal, attractively presented and sitting down with her to eat together.
she may be depressed and or have slight dementia.
nagging her will do no good.
could someone call on her, maybe a careworker if no nearby friends/family, to help her at lunchtime.

Alexa Tue 12-Jan-21 23:41:05

Can you prepare one of these each time you are with her. Maybe give a tiny amount in a pretty wine glass, and leave her to scoff the rest when she feels like it.

welbeck Tue 12-Jan-21 23:43:53

Esspee, you sound marvellous.
it's good to give. not just the items, but the thoughtfulness and attention.
wonderful ideas.

ElaineI Tue 12-Jan-21 23:53:55

Sorry don't know what jello is or slim Jims but frozen meals are ok. Watched a series about tinned/frozen meals and frozen had more vitamins etc than freshly cooked meals. Freshly cooked may taste nicer but frozen are healthy to eat (provided they are not eaten while frozen!). Chips are also fine to eat as in UK chips. We have several companies that provide all sorts of meal ingredients which you cook yourself. They also do frozen meals - DM has had some from DB and enjoyed. She is 85 and says everything tastes the same but liked them. Maybe they do them where your mother lives. Church is also sending two meals a week and she likes them as they are homemade on church premises.

thorns2roses Wed 13-Jan-21 00:30:51

If you believe your mum is becoming frail it might be sensible to get your mums health checked out. This will help you all to decide if you are being too protective or if more support is needed. On the health front to take just one example, it could be vitamin B12 deficiency. It can affect your sense of taste and result in lethargy etc. and can be corrected with injections. B12 deficiency is a known condition for some older people. The main issue is whether her eating choices are leading to or being caused by health problems. If your mum agreed to being independently weighed on a regular basis by a care visitor or GP this will help you all to decide if her food intake is a real issue or not; and will reduce the need to pressure her with daily checks on her intake when it might be a matter of simple preferred choice. I had one elderly relative who would make impressive claims about wholesome eating and would show me a well stocked cupboard and fridge but 'eventually' when regular weighing was introduced the game was up. Only then were her health issues (tummy problems), memory issues and a need for more active care support then addressed.

Blossoming Wed 13-Jan-21 00:45:51

Arlicohe your use of ‘Mom’ and the food names you use indicates you’re in America. Is this correct? I’m afraid some of our advice won’t be relevant if so.

GrannyTracey Sun 31-Jan-21 10:09:41

My mum really had no appetite, she lost loads of weight & my husband & I made the decision to bring her to live with us. She lived with us for 2 years before she passed . I encouraged her with different foods but she was never hungry . The doctor prescribed nutritional drinks 4 times a day & she could only manage 2 on most days because she said they filled her up. I was told by a nutritionist to add butter & fresh cream to as many meals as I could I made her coffee with full fat milk too ( all the things we are told are fattening & unhealthy) She loved cakes & scones so I was always baking for her . I don’t think a balanced diet is so important in their 80’s as long as they are eating something Arlicohe

NotSpaghetti Sun 31-Jan-21 18:34:49

Come back please Arlicohe...

Sparkling Sun 31-Jan-21 18:37:48

She is eating although not healthily. At her age I think she should do as she wants.