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Posted by: Jeanette | 2011/10/04

P

My mother have parkinsons, high blood pressure and osteo arthritis. Is 82 years old and bedridden.
Sy can eat but do not want to eat and we dont want to put a peg tube in. What can I do to make her eat? Dear Jeanette - thank you so much for your question. Wow you really have your hands full. You haven't mentioned where she is being cared for - at home with you or at a frail care residential facility? When faced with these challenges in the course of a debilitating disease like Parkinsons and dementia, it requires considerable consultation with other family members and a health care team which would include her GP, and a specialist physician or a geriatrician. At all times it is in the patient's best interests to maintain oral feeding for as long as possible. There are difficulties with pegs and not having all the details it is difficult to comment save to say, consult her GP and other health care professionals to guide you but ensure that there is consultation with all necessary family members. You haven't indicated whether she still has dentures and can chew etc but here are suggestions to help her eat could include : alternating the swallowing of food and liquids to help clear the mouth of dry and maybe textured food; avoid highly textured foods or dry particulate foods (e.g. rice etc) rather blend items into one consistency, some thinner liquids may be difficult to swallow and run the risk of choking so it is suggested to thicken these with a commercial thickener available from your pharmacy or use potato, banana or fruit puree to thicken food. Medications may be easier to take with a spoon of puree, pudding, custard, apple sauce instead of liquids. Dont crush any medications unless approved by her GP or physician. It is essential to be alert to the signs of pneumonia, chest congestion, chronic low-grade fevers, incresed cough and a change in her saliva. Essential to supervise her during mealtimes - do not leave her alone at all during mealtimes or with food in her mouth. Hope this helps - if you need more info please contact me at 0860 636 679. Warmest regards Karen

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Our expert says:
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Dear Jeanette - thank you so much for your question. Wow you really have your hands full. You haven't mentioned where she is being cared for - at home with you or at a frail care residential facility? When faced with these challenges in the course of a debilitating disease like Parkinsons and dementia, it requires considerable consultation with other family members and a health care team which would include her GP, and a specialist physician or a geriatrician. At all times it is in the patient's best interests to maintain oral feeding for as long as possible. There are difficulties with pegs and not having all the details it is difficult to comment save to say, consult her GP and other health care professionals to guide you but ensure that there is consultation with all necessary family members. You haven't indicated whether she still has dentures and can chew etc but here are suggestions to help her eat could include : alternating the swallowing of food and liquids to help clear the mouth of dry and maybe textured food; avoid highly textured foods or dry particulate foods (e.g. rice etc) rather blend items into one consistency, some thinner liquids may be difficult to swallow and run the risk of choking so it is suggested to thicken these with a commercial thickener available from your pharmacy or use potato, banana or fruit puree to thicken food. Medications may be easier to take with a spoon of puree, pudding, custard, apple sauce instead of liquids. Dont crush any medications unless approved by her GP or physician. It is essential to be alert to the signs of pneumonia, chest congestion, chronic low-grade fevers, incresed cough and a change in her saliva. Essential to supervise her during mealtimes - do not leave her alone at all during mealtimes or with food in her mouth. Hope this helps - if you need more info please contact me at 0860 636 679. Warmest regards Karen

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