Now I know where the difficult child strain in my family came from

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by muttmeister, May 14, 2013.

  1. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    Most of you know, my 98 year old mother is living with me. She has cancer and some senile dementia. She has been losing weight and the doctor has made it clear to me that I need to be sure and get her to eat. Tonight, difficult child 2 BBQed hamburgers and hot dogs for us. She had a hamburger and ate about two bites so I took it in the living room so she could work on eating it there. I had to go to difficult child's house for a few minutes and when I got back the burger was gone. I doubted if she ate it but she swore she did and I looked in the trash, etc. and didn't find it. Later, I went into the bathroom. Our toilet doesn't flush unless you hold the handle down extra long. She had tried to flush the burger down the toilet. (I tried to put a mad icon here but it's not working). I was livid!
    If one of the grandkids had done that I'd have whipped their behinds. Now I know where the difficult child-ness is inherited from!
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Well... it has to come from somewhere, right?!
  3. nerfherder

    nerfherder Active Member

    Part of the problem with the extreme elderly and nutrition is so many neural pathways get worn out! Mom at 94 is not simply hard of hearing, but has an age related processing delay. Talking to her has a one second lag similar to the way overseas phone calls used to be.

    If she's having a problem where things just aren't tasting good anymore, bland or whatever, one trick Mom has used that seems to work is processed foods with MSG as a prep ingredient. It's not the best diet, no, but my mom's at the age where it's more important to keep the weight on than worry about OMG PROCESSED FOODS IN A BOX.

    Another trick that worked for DEX's grampa was high protein desserts. His sweet tooth got so overwhelming when dementia started nudging its way in that the Meals on Wheels and home visit people were reporting they'd drop off his dinner, he'd eat the dessert and any sweet side dish, and the rest would go bad in the fridge. If she can tolerate dairy, then milk-based egg custards, baked goods with powdered dry milk added, and similar things. Ice cream and similar frozen desserts, there's even a recipe on the web for "Goodness Gracious Great Bars of Spam!" SPAM bar cookies. Or Chinese style sweet and sour (usually mostly sweet, ick) chicken or pork and so on.

    Far as flushing things goes - Yow. I'm not surprised, but at least you got it before it did a number on your drain pipes.
  4. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Toward the end of my mother in law's life, she had terrible trouble with her mouth. Certain things hurt her to eat, and the effect of the chemo on her taste buds made many things taste awful. The only things that seemed to taste right to her were very spicy dishes. So, like a good little West Indian girl, I broke out the hot pepper sauce. Put it on EVERYTHING. I started cooking with really spicy spices -- garlic, chilis, more garlic, more chilies, ginger. All of the above, and then dosed with the hot pepper sauce. mother in law loved it, and always ate well whenever I cooked for her.

    Your mum might have a different taste preference than burn-the-skin-off-your-mouth hot, but whatever way she leans, it might be worth going super heavy-handed with it. Whether it's salt, sweet, pepper, or whatever...the weight loss will do far more harm than whatever additives are going in her food.

    Good luck. And yes, grandparents are often the big hint of where the difficult child strains come from.
  5. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Someone is gonna throw stones at me....................I just know it. But let's be practical here.

    Your mom is 98 yrs old and has cancer. Does she want to live to be over a hundred?? If you don't see that burning desire there for life in general..........then don't nag the poor woman. She may be 98 but she is still a grown woman and knows when she is hungry ect. Try to make appealing meals that she really likes, otherwise, personally I'd just plain give her the opportunity to enjoy what time she has left as best she can.

    I know you're doing your utter best to look out for her welfare. I've no doubt about that. But often when a family member grows to extreme old age and has senility issues we tend to forget they are grown ups capable of knowing what they want. The senility might complicate that a bit and make it so they can no longer live independently.........but do you get what I'm saying?

    She is going to lose weight with the cancer. I'm guessing she is in treatment......but even without treatment she would lose weight with the cancer most likely. Her appetite probably isn't that great, so by trying to cook things she truly enjoys might encourage her to try a few extra bites. But honestly most people her age don't eat enough to feed a bird even completely well. Chewing can be tiring, food can start to taste sort of blah.........and if she is on pain medications and it's causing constipation........well, that can make you feel full even if you're not.

    The hamburger in the toilet was your sign you're pushing too much with the eating. I'm sure you don't want your mom to feel so pressured to eat that she sneaks to discard food.

    During mother in law's last months she only ate a small amount of soup and a sandwich. That was a big meal for her if she could eat it all. She never ate breakfast and often skipped dinner completely as the food laid on her stomach like a rock.

  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Good point Lisa... and at MY age, a "hamburger" is too heavy... so maybe at 98, it just doesn't sit well at all.
  7. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I haven't been there done that with parents but from friends and acquaintances I "think" that childlike portions are the most popular. If she has a "Royal Castle" sized hamburger cut in half on her plate the chances are she will finish it and IF she feels hunry will ask for more. I am only 72 but I can attest to the fact that "wasting food" was a hug Bozo No No for those who lived thru WWII and certainly those who lived thru the Great Depression. As a child in the 40's I heard "very" often about the "starving people around the world" etc. etc. etc. My generation was influenced by the very generation that she was a part of AND it really was a moral issue. Wasting food was almost as bad as having sex before marriage. Seriously, I think small portions is the way to go....and high calorie treats are good too. Hugs. DDD
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Whatever it is that she likes, no matter if you hate it or not, let her eat it. WHen my gma was very ill at the end, and was quite bad with senile dementia/cancer in her brain, she ate White Castle burgers when she would eat NOTHING else. Skyline chili (Cincinnati style chili, VERY different from chili in most of the world) was about the only thing other than danish from the locally owned bakery that she would eat. When my aunt and the home care nurse said she couldn't share iwth her cats from her plate, she totally stopped eating. I do mean TOTALLY, to the point she had cramping and pain when she ate again because her digestive tract was very unhappy. Finally the doctor learned why she stopped eating and told them that NOTHING she could catch from her well cared for and pampered cats would hurt her as much as not eating or drinking, esp not drinking. The cats were allowed back into the room when she was eating and she again would eat those very few things.

    She wanted to die though. The pain was horrible and in her lucid moment she did NOT want to live like that. In one lucid moment she asked my dad for his father's gun and some bullets. Tore my dad up to have to refuse, but he just could not let her do that. Esp as it would be tough to prove that she was lucid when seh asked, though the whole family knew she was. It was heartbreaking, esp to see my dad in tears because he had to refuse her.

    Anyway, feed her what seh wants to eat. I would avoid MSG simply because it causes migraines and people get more sensitive to it as they age. Or so I have been told. Of course you can only do what you can do.

    I am sorry she is in bad shape and I hoep and pray she can handle the rest of her life on her terms. I think tha tis all we can ask for at her age. I know my great gma wanted to die by age 90 when many of her children were already dead of old age related things. She said ti was a curse to live that long. She died less than 48 hrs after they made her leave her own home and go to a nursing home. For ten years she had told ALL of us that she would be dead less than 48 hrs after she was forced otu of her home. Nothing was wrong with her except being 98 according to her docs. in my opinion she decided to die and did, but she was probably the strongest willed person I ever met. I think that is part fo where I got it from.