Diminishing appetites in those suffering from dementia

My mom returns from the salad bar with her plate. It contains four pieces of chopped lettuce, a pea, a carrot sliver and some dressing.  My son and I crack up.  It’s as if she were trying to make us laugh (the picture is an accurate recreation of her salad).

My mom has not been a good eater for a while. She typically will only order chicken fingers, but can never eat more than one. That one takes a long time to eat. She will spend the rest of meal-time trying to figure out how to get the other two chicken fingers into her purse safely so she can take it home.

While she hasn’t been an adventurous eater, she was always a good cook and we grew up with the typical mid-west diet of meat, potato or rice, and some vegetable for dinner.

She was always very slender, but in the past ten years has lost another 10 – 15 pounds and is now frail.

Lack of appetite is a common symptom in those with dementia. It’s also common for those with depression and I wonder how much those two threads intertwine. Considered.

Recommended reading on this topic from Alzbrain.org: Weight Loss and the Dementia Patient

2 thoughts on “Diminishing appetites in those suffering from dementia

  1. My aunt, now 94 and living in a nursing home, had started to lose weight when she lived alone in her home. Now her weight is up 15 pounds, a combination of regular meals and a supplement she thinks is a milkshake. Whenever we took her to Golden Corral (her favorite restaurant) she would always get too much food and then slip the chicken into her purse for “later.” Ironically, she never ate the purloined food. I think it’s more the idea that she is getting something for nothing.

    1. My mom won’t drink the “milkshake” but someone recommended using it for the liquid in waffles — I’m going to try that next chance I get! Thanks for the comment.

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