Aug 31, 2012

Will Paul Eat Off Red Plates?

Paul has not been feeding him self properly, he has needed help a lot of the time.

By +Bob DeMarco
+Alzheimer's Reading Room 

Will Paul Eat Off Red Plates

One of our long term readers, Jocelyn, is now facing an eating problem with her husband Paul. Here is how she described the problem in the comments section under the article, Positive Thoughts Drive the Caregiving Experience.
"I have a new problem now. For sometime now Paul has not been feeding him self properly, he has needed help a lot of the time. The last couple of weeks he has been very sick and we did not think he would pull through but in the middle of that he started feeding himself again and did so for maybe three or four days.

Now he is well on the way to recovery and once again he will not feed himself, he just sits and waits for someone to help him. I am there everyday at lunchtime to help and I try to get him to use his fork or spoon but he just refuses to even move his hands. Sometimes I think it is just too much effort for him but then why did he do it when he was sick?"
I'll start by suggesting you re-read our articles on red plates.

What Color is Your Plate?

Thanksgiving Postscript, If You Couldn't See Your Mashed Potatoes, You Probably Wouldn’t Eat Them

Red plates? Worth a try for sure.

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Now for the Bunkhouse Logic.

Does anyone cut up the food for Paul? It might help if someone sits down at his level, and within his field of vision, and cuts his food. Cut it while he watches.

Then, use the fork and take a bit and say something like, "delicious". Then put the fork on the side of the plate and see what happens. Be patient and don't speak.

In addition, I would remove all other utensils from his field of vision. For example, knife and spoon. This way he has one option.

One could add to the above by eating with Paul. Once again within his field of vision. Eat slowly let him watch. Don't ask or encourage him to eat. Maybe remark about the food. For example, these brussel sprouts are good. Of course, that one wouldn't work with me because I don't like how brussel sprouts smell, let alone taste. So maybe you take a bite of whatever it is you think he would eat first.

Go slow on all of this. Relax. Smile. Get on the Alzheimer's World clock.

I would consider if all else fails trying to demonstrate how to use the fork. However, if you are eating close to him, and directly across from Paul you will already be demonstrating.

I have a question. If someone feeds Paul will he eat all his food? If he is eating well then that is not the main problem here. If he is not eating much then it is a more complex problem.

What I am describing above in addition to the red plates is trying to create a pattern. A workable pattern where Paul will once again pick up his fork and eat.

Another very strong suggestion from me would be to have Paul's urine cultured. Maybe he has an infection, or a urinary tract infection.

There were a few times where I had to feed Dotty when she had an infection. She just could not feed herself, and she wouldn't eat much. I wondered each time if this was it?

Dotty as long term readers know always bounced back nicely until the end period.

I would get in a good positive mindset and try to see if you can get things the way you would like them to be.

If not, then you know you did the best you could, and this should bring you some comfort.

Jocelyn, please let us know how it is going.

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Bob DeMarco is the Founder and Editor of the Alzheimer's Reading Room (ARR). Bob is a recognized influencer, speaker, and expert in the Alzheimer's and Dementia Community Worldwide. The ARR Knowledge Base contains more than 4,000 articles. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room