My 91 yo ..mother as vascular dementia, and my father, her primary caregiver, reports to me that at every mealtime, mom will consistently try to give about half the food on her plate to the dog....this includes ice cream and soup (yes, melting ice cream was literally running down the dog's head!) She will continue the behavior even after Dad tells her to stop, just do it a little more sneakily. When he removes the dog from the dining room, she often will just drop the food right on the floor. Anyone have any idea why she is doing this? And what can we do to stop or prevent the behavior.? Note that she has an increasingly poor appetite, and has a disrupted eat, chew, swallow sequence (tends to chew inadequately before swallowing, and will put additional food in her mouth before she swallows the previous bite) She also will periodically have choking events if her food is too chunky or dry--which we are trying to address by having her eat more soups, liquids, purees, etc. but now he is having to deal with her dropping these liquid foods on the dog or the floor. Looking for any insights or tips someone can provide about understanding and dealing with this behavior
Go to the top of the page to the blue/green bar and click on CARE TOPICS. Now go to Dementia where you will find a lot of excellent articles. The more one knows about the disease the better it will be knowing what may come next, and what you can do to make it a bit easier.
My concern is the way she eats. By stuffing her mouth and swallowing may cause her to choke on it or go down the wrong way. It can be aspirated into the lungs and cause pneumonia. If she is having a problem swallowing, this should be brought up to her doctor. A test may need to be performed. In some cases liquids have to be thickened, even water.
It maybe time that Dad has to feed mom. Maybe placing one thing on her plate at a time. Cutting things very small. Waiting until she chews and swallows before she is given the next bite. I know it will take forever but right now she is wasting food and making a mess. It will be like feeding a toddler.
In the meantime, put the dog in his kennel during mealtimes.
And look into Memory Care Assisted Living for mom or Skilled Nursing, depending upon the level of care required. You and dad are not qualified to care for mom at this stage of disease, unfortunately.
Wishing you the best of luck with a difficult situation
Your father will not be able to keep up with her care needs, not my rules just the facts, don't wait until it becomes an emergency, plan, start the process.
It sounds as though your father may not be fully aware of the symptoms/severity of her condition.
If she hasn’t already had a thorough cognitive assessment with a geriatric specialist in psychiatry, psychology, or neuropsychiatric, and a swallowing examination administered by a speech therapist with training in geriatric swallowing disorders, those should probably happen sooner than later.
Could you try several very small, fully supervised meals through the day? Her behaviors are indicating that she probably won’t stop dropping food on the dog, so maybe try giving her foods only when someone is right next to herAND the dog is out of the room?
Does your dad have plenty of help with caring for her? Dealing with this is a tragedy for all of us who are caregivers, and probably most difficult for loving spouses.
Thinking of you both………