Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What Did You Have For Lunch?

What did you have for lunch?  That is a question I ask Momma quite often.  It really is a crazy question to ask her.  She has dementia, and she usually does not remember.  I ask hoping to hear she actually ate something – anything!  You see, Momma has appetite issues.   One of her medications for dementia is stealing her appetite.  This is a common side effect, and it can be a real problem.  In addition to her lack of appetite, Momma has problems with esophageal  spasms.  When the attack strikes, it puts her in unbelievable pain.  She can go from totally relaxed and happy to doubled over in pain and covered in sweat in about thirty seconds.  These spasms can be brought on by stress and certain foods.  In Momma’s case, fruit and coffee are two things we know she must avoid.  Would you care to guess what her two most favorite food items in the world might be?  You guessed it – fruit and coffee.  Momma was most happy when my Dad would awaken her with a cup of coffee in one hand and her hair brush in the other.  If she could then have fruit for breakfast, she would consider the day off to a good start.

Now, Momma forgets to eat.  She doesn’t listen to the cues her body is giving regarding its need for food.  And, unfortunately, she has to deal with these spasms.  Be aware of your loved one’s appetite.  Alzheimer’s causes the metabolism to increase.  When the average person sleeps, they burn 200 calories.  When someone with Alzheimer’s sleeps, they burn 600 calories.  So, making sure your loved one is getting proper nutrition is very important.  For Momma and me, it is a full-time job.  However, it is like I tell her all the time.  She is worth the effort, and she is so CUTE!

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