I've not talked about my mum, on here much, because the the help I give both mum and dad is a daily thing like doing the washing and making dinner etc. and it dominates a lot of my time and thoughts as well as my my own family. However I've changed my mind because some of my followers have a direct connection with dementia or knows someone with dementia and as my mum is in the late stages of this dreadful disease I thought maybe some of our experiences might help others. There are many different types of dementia but I suspect that my mum's is Lewis Bodies which is linked to Parkinson's Disease but can only be fully diagnosed after an autopsy following death.
My mum has lost a lot of weight over this past year which is normal for dementia suffers but quite worrying for the carers. My mum has also lost the power of speech and is unable to communicate her feelings, wants or needs so we don't know if or when she's hungry or full or just dislikes her food. Recently she's stopped chewing her food so all food has to be either very soft and mashed or puréed. When she pushes the plate/dish away is it because she is full or just doesn't like it? We don't know so we (me or dad) wait and try again and sometimes it works and she will take more food. Mum manages to feed herself her breakfast but we have to do lunch and tea between us.
Mum's Dr recently prescribed Complan as a food supplement as well as her meals in the hope that she'll gain a little bit of weight or a least gain some extra nutrients. She appears to be enjoying them.
Dad has had to learn to cook and made some lovely meals for them both. Now he makes a big pan of stew, mostly for mum, with lots of home grown veggies, mince (pork, turkey, lamb or beef) potatoes, sometimes lentils or beans and other bits and pieces. He then whizzes it in the blender.
After searching the internet for hint and tips we learnt some new tricks that might help mum with her food intake and nutrition. Adding milk powder to mash, soups and stews, puddings like yoghurt and custard, semolina and anything else it can be mixed with.
Sometimes it looks like mum has a problems with her swallowing reflex because she holds food in her mouth. Another tip we found on the internet was to alternated, every so often, hot food with cold. The cold could be a drink of fresh orange from the fridge or maybe a spoonful of ice cream/yoghurt/cold custard/puréed fruit. Apparently the difference between the hot (not too hot it burns of course) and cold stimulates the swallow reflex. It's also said that people with dementia develop a sweet tooth, my mum has, so there are suggestions of sweetening meals a little (sweet shepherds pie, yuk!) but if it gets them to take it. This is one we've not tried yet but not ruled out.
What's all this got to do with armchair shopping?
Well it's all down to the weight that mum's lost that most of her clothes are just way too big for her now. For many years mum has had catalogues and they're still arriving so dad has been looking through them and asked if I would help choose some stuff. I went round early on Friday morning before mum went to day care and had a look at some things and tried to involve her in choosing colours. I know the styles she likes so it was just a matter of choosing the colours. I told mum what I was doing and that I was spending dads money (she would have liked that) and I got her to choose the colour she liked by taking her hand and guiding it. She chose 3 jumpers 2 cardigans and a skirt before her lift came. Friday was a good day and I'm pleased I was able to involve her in her shopping. With dad's agreement we chose some more items that are needed. When the new clothes arrive dad said that he'll put the old ones in a suitcase just in case she does put some weight on although I don't think she will.
Dad still want's to keep mum at home and I will continue to help.