Sunday, 9 November 2014

Armchair Shopping

Hello friends

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.

Carolx




14 comments:

  1. I do so hope she'll love the clothes when they arrive. Your mum couldn't wish for a better husband and daughter.
    xx

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  2. Thanks for sharing. I think it would be very easy to never mention what you do to care for your parents. That would be a great pity because in just this little story you have given me an insight into the world of dementia carer. I know it (caring for a senile parent) would never be something you'd want to do, but thank you for doing it.

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    1. Hi Angel, Helping dad to care for mum has gradually taken up more time as it progresses. I didn't really want to share the journey of mum's dementia, but it's such a big part of our life, at the moment, and both dad and I have learnt so much that I thought it might help others who are just starting out and don't know what to expect so I will share some other stories about how we've arrive at this stage.
      Carolx

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  3. Ah carol just love for you all, brings tears to my eyes. It's good to write down the nice memories. Your mum has a good team in her corner, well deserved no doubt xx

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    1. Thank you Hazzy. Sometimes I just sit and watch mum and I still see little bits of her left and I think "She's still in there"
      Carolx

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    2. Towards the end of my mums life (she also had cancer as well as dementia) at very relaxed peaceful moments then my mum was back and it was wonderful. She is in there I promise you. and all my love to her x

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    3. It's comforting to know that
      Carolx

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  4. Just a thought - if you are really concerned about her weight loss, have you tried to get her to drink Fortisip? [GP can prescribe this] My Mum had health problems which meant she couldnt eat properly and it was brilliant for her, and then when Steph was ill, she had it too. check it out http://www.fortisipdrink.co.uk/
    blessings, hugs and prayers xx

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Angela, I had a look at the website, very interesting. The nurse practitioner prescribed these for mum and when dad took her to see the GP and asked for more he said no because they were too expensive and prescribed complan. Mum is taking in some food but will certainly keep Fortisip in mind for when things change. Thank you again.
      Carolx

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  5. You are doing so much for your Mum, without even realising it.Bless you !
    Jane x

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    1. Thank you Jane. I sat and though about it and I do and I just do it. I wouldn't have it any other way.
      Carolx

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  6. I'would suggest being referred to the community dietitian
    It may take a little time , but they can kick ass to get things sorted
    Just a thought
    John

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  7. Hi John. At the moment the complan is working and the milk powder. However there will come a time when mum takes in less food and will need to take a different course of action. I've not heard of a Community Dietitian so will make enquiries at our Drs surgery. Thank you for the suggestion.
    Carolx

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