Any tips are tricks to get a parent to eat? I’ve been researching online, but would love to hear if anyone has had any success in getting nutrients to your elderly parents.

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Daily plant based Ensure or a simular brand
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Reply to Irenamae

Is she losing weight to the point where you think it is not healthy? Is it loss of appetite, or difficulty swallowing? With age, and also with dementia, there can be problems with eating and swallowing. My mother had dementia, and as it advanced, she first lost all of her table manners and acted like a child, playing with her food. Then she "pocketed" her food (put it into her cheeks and didn't swallow. She was in a memory care facility and they recommended switching her to soft foods, which they did. Then she lost the ability to feed herself and had to be fed. Some people with age have difficulty swallowing liquids. When this happens, the facility thickened the liquids. I've also noticed that many elderly people develop a taste for sweet things, even if they didn't have it previously. Products like Ensure, which provide a meal in liquid form, can be used to supplement their nutrition.
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Reply to NancyIS

Langdml: I made sure that my mother ate her favorite foods. Even so, she ate very small amounts. A lunch plate was suitable.
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Reply to Llamalover47
NeedHelpWithMom Feb 1, 2023
I did the lunch plate for my mom too. I eat off of a lunch plate myself.
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Just saw this:

Check with the insurance company to see what benefits are available to help remedy this situation, I'm pretty sure malnutrition would be considered an ailment, if not a health emergency.
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Reply to ConnieCaretaker

I did similar things that Caldinea mentioned. Mom could not chew well so she could only have soft items. Ensure caused incontinence. I did use Ensure mixed fruit drink. 180 calories. But, she was always open to “from scratch” items. I made homemade Mexican cornbread every day, all types of beans cooked and mashed. Homemade soup. I had much better results with homemade items. But, I will tell you that I was not very successful. It was almost as though her body would not utilize the calories.

I wish you success. It is not easy to see your LO get frail.
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Reply to Msblcb
97yroldmom Jan 24, 2023
“It was almost as though her body would not utilize the calories.”
In this case I think the value partially, perhaps primarily, lies with the enjoyment your mom might receive from favorite foods.

The albumin blood test is helpful in understanding what is going on and is usually part of normal blood work. When my dads albumin was low his ankles collected fluid. His dr prescribed an appetite stimulate which helped him gain weight and his appetite and weight returned to normal. His favorite food was malts.

The stimulates can have side effects though we didn’t notice any. The one my dad was on was Megace.
DH aunt is on it now. It is helping her. She was on Periactin which did nothing to help.

This link has natural remedies listed as well as explaining the prescription choices.

Frailty is supposed to be helped by an egg a day. I always did a soft scramble or an egg and milk pudding with bananas and vanilla wafers (banana pudding) such as a simple vanilla pudding or egg custard.

This recipe allows you to make enough egg custard at one time to last for a few days. Wouldn’t last long around me. I like it warm.
My mom laughs when I say "What to you feed an 84yo woman with end stage COPD? Anything she wants."

I've gotten my mom's weight to flit around here and there but the amount she needs to eat to gain weight, which is delivered in a 'browsing' style by me endlessly dropping snack of fruits, nuts, etc on her tray, packs of cookies, cheese crackers, candy, etc ... she will end up eating herself sick, (which is STILL a small amount of food to a normal person) and then it's the opposite way for awhile. Food stops re-building us after awhile, and as she doesn't move much she doesn't need much energy. Pretty sure her lungs, burning energy like a marathon runner at this stage, are powered by sweet-tarts and tootsie roll pops.

Seriously though, at least in my mom's case "putting on weight" just isn't really possible, all the 'tricks' to make her eat just make her uncomfortable feeling, which then assigns a negative connotation to mealtime.

Besides the candy and junk-food everything else is cooked from scratch at home (but I'm not churning my own butter levels of 'scratch'). I guess there's some badness in regards to the level of sodium, sugar, and fats added to processed foods that don't work out well once we get older. it a lot of work cooking from scratch but i was already doing it before mom moved in so. there's likely healthier processed options that might work.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Caldinea

My mom had no appetite. She took a couple of bites here and there.

Try speaking with a dietician. They are trained in nutrition. You can call a hospital near you and ask to speak with the dietitian on staff. My mom’s doctor told me to do this and the dietitian was willing to speak with me.

It’s challenging to find ways for the elderly without an adequate appetite to eat. Best wishes to you.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom

What are her teeth like? Your profile says she's 93.
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Reply to NYDaughterInLaw

Langdml, easiest thing to do is let an elder eat what they want [unless there is a medical condition that requires a strict diet].

As we age we tend to lose our sense of taste. One big surprise for me, I use to love pizzas, but now I just don't care for the taste.

One thing elders can still taste are sweets. I remember my Mom's [in her 90's] grocery list for her and my Dad.... the vast majority of her grocery list was chocolate chip muffins, Little Debbie's, blueberry pie, whip cream, vanilla fudge ice cream, Pepperidge Farm cookies, etc. Yes, she had healthy items but not many.

Therefore, if an elder wants ice cream for breakfast, ask if they want one scoop or two :)
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Reply to freqflyer
BlueRider84 Feb 1, 2023
I agree. My mom LOVED ice cream and chocolate her whole life. She claimed they were two of the basic food groups. Once her Alzheimer’s progressed, she would forget that she had already eaten a bowl of ice cream, so she would fix another. At first I questioned it, but then I realized it gave her pleasure (especially after my dad died) and at 87 years old, she had earned it. I also gave her a small daily ration of her favorite Lindt chocolates ~ otherwise, she could eat a whole bag in one day. In between treats, I made sure she had three small healthy meals. I’m glad that the last thing she ate before she went to heaven was a bowl of mint chip ice cream.
You would be amazed at how little nutrition our elders actually require to stay alive. They eat very little, often for years, and do OK. I would never force an elder to eat more than they want, nor, in truth, to bother them with scales and so on. I don't know the ages or conditions of the ones you love, but just offer good meals of things they like and hope for the best. Certainly, if you are POA, you can ask the doctor for a consult with a nutritionist about the best way to get in good quality food, and take one simple multivit daily would be a good move. Then go on to things they enjoy. Milkshakes worked for my Dad when anything at all did. Wishing you the best.
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Reply to AlvaDeer

It will help if you tell us what exactly you are trying to accomplish, there's a difference between worrying about your parent not getting a balanced diet and them not getting enough calories. There's also a big difference between someone who wants to eat but is having difficulty doing that and someone who has no appetite and/or refuses to eat.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to cwillie

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