Carol Howell Talks Dementia: Chow Time

Chow Time

670-1Sundays are important times for many families. It is a time of worship, and it is a time for families to gather. My family worships together, and then we eat lunch together.  Momma, who has mid-stage Alzheimer’s, totally enjoys these meals. She eats heartily, and she always declares it the best meal she has eaten all week.

Meal time does not have to be extravagant. Last Sunday’s meal was vegan “chicken” nuggets, baked fries, slaw, baked beans, and everyone (except yours truly) enjoyed homemade oatmeal pie. The menu was divided up between each person, and no one had a lot of work on their hands.

Momma, however, benefited greatly. Going out to eat can sometimes be enjoyable for Momma. Many times, however, the noise, unfamiliar surroundings, decision making, and hustle and bustle cause her to loose her appetite. Eating with her family in her daughter’s home fits perfectly into her day.

Chow time is important, but from the looks of the folks in this picture, you might want to stand clear when the food is served. You might wind up with five forks stuck in the back of the hand while reaching for that last piece of oatmeal pie!

Dementia and Constipation

-2(2)Pooping. You gotta do it. Most authors don’t start their blogs with the word “pooping”, but I have never followed the norm. I’m just brave enough to talk about pooping in polite company. Everybody does it. If you don’t, well that leads to an entire host of problems.

Dementia can be caused by over 90 different conditions, situations, or diseases. Constipation is one of those instances. That is news to most caregivers. If your loved one has sudden onset symptoms of dementia (confusion, agitation, irritation), they do not suddenly have Alzheimer’s. They might have, instead, a reversible dementia. The source of that dementia needs to be explored. Constipation is one of those sources.

Many times constipation is brought on by dehydration. Dehydration is another source of a reversible dementia. In addition to dehydration, constipation is often caused by a change in medication or diet.  Whatever the reason, be aware of the bathroom habits of your loved one with dementia. Are they urinating sufficiently each day? Are they having bowel movements regularly?

When words are absent, watch for non-verbal cues to learn when your loved one is experiencing discomfort or unease. I have a client who will make fists with both hands and beat her abdomen when she is constipated. It is the only way she has of letting her caregiver know something is wrong. Her dementia increases for a few days, and her overall health is affected.

Constipation is a serious matter. Help your loved one with dementia to avoid this problem. Pooping. You gotta do it!

Hope this gives you Something to Ponder.

Carol Howell
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