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I need to get my mom to eat?

28 Feb 2018 01:32

Hi everyone,

I'm looking for advice on how to increase my mom's intake of calories. About a week ago she was admitted into home hospice care, she has cancer in her bones and her liver is failing. She is on oxygen and various pills for nausea and bloating. Her current caloric intake is very low, about 300-400 calories per day. Yesterday was a good day, she got up to 800 calories. It is very difficult for her to eat and it always seems like a chore for her which I can completely understand, but she needs to eat to maintain the little energy she has, and to stay alive. Today she ate scrambled eggs (about an egg and a half), had some pedialyte, and a bite of an acai bowl. When I ask her if she wants me to make her something she politely declines. I don't want to make her feel like I'm forcing her to eat, but at the same time she's not going to make it for much longer if she won't . She also gets a metal taste in her mouth from some foods, probably remaining from the chemo she decided not to continue a month ago. If you had a family member/friend that also had this issue, could you kindly let me know what they were able to eat/what they found appealing? Or if you have any tips? It would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much.

Re: I need to get my mom to eat?

28 Feb 2018 02:18 in response to wonderwoman54

Hi there ... so sorry bout your mum , it is a heartbraking time ... I'm sure you'll get others come along with tips, but l just wanted to say hi and welcome ... if your mum has metal taste and sickness, that's probably adding to her not wanting to eat .. but destresing for you ...

Little bits she can manage ... sure the pharmacist could help with build up drinks ... but good luck in finding something ... take care Chrissie x

Re: I need to get my mom to eat?

28 Feb 2018 07:52 in response to wonderwoman54

Hi wonder

welcome to the website and I am so sorry to hear about your mum, this must be a very hard time for you

i am now 3.5 years post treatment for a tongue based cancer and doing well, but during my Tomotherapy and chemo over time I lost the ability to eat food and for a while would drink small bottle of forticips....these are calorie laden milkshakes that you should be able to get from your medical team

I had a feeding tube fitted to my stomach pre treatment so ended up taking these drinks through that service, but I guess this will not be an option for you mum

try the drinks ... the tatse horrible, but if your mum has a metal taste from the chemo everything tastes **** ... it’s just a case of getting it down

as theses are liquid bested too light and often might help

keep us up to date and my thoughts and good wishes are with you at this point in time



Re: I need to get my mom to eat?

1 Mar 2018 17:22 in response to wonderwoman54


Hi Wonderwoman,

It is so difficult to find suitable food for someone who barely has the energy to eat. My mother-in-law is in the same position. Initially we tried soft foods that weren’t too lumpy.  Eggs in any form and homemade soups were her mainstay, followed by various yoghurt based sweets.

She is now sleeping for 23 hours out of 24 and although we wake her at meal times, she often falls asleep half-way through and we have to waken her up and try again. There are a number of different build-up foods available. These have different tastes and calorie values. Some of them taste foul, whilst others are not too bad.

Initially we got an assorted pack of different manufacturers; products. We found that, in her case, Ensure was better than the others.  We got the dietician to come out to the house and tell us exactly how much of this was needed to keep her alive and we try to give her at least this much every day. At present this is done by dividing one drink into 3 portions, which she takes morning, noon and night. We supplement this with yoghurts and as much fluid as we can get her to take. This has lessened in the past week and, we may have to insert a drip as she is now very dehydrated.

Your doctor or dietician can arrange for these drinks to be delivered to you regularly and at no cost.

Many people have had this problem with loved ones. If you go to the blue banner at the top of this page and insert something about eating, appetite, etc, this will bring up previous posts on this topic. You may find some of these helpful.

Please keep in touch and let us know how you get on. We are always here for you whenever you want to talk.

Kind regards,

Jolamine xx

Re: I need to get my mom to eat?

2 Mar 2018 22:02 in response to wonderwoman54

Hey my mum is currently battling stage 4 kidney cancer and she too stopped eating, completely lost her appetite and went really thin and weak, I spoke to her oncologist about this and he recommended steroids. Since taking them my mums appetite is back she’s gained a healthy wait and her energy and confidence levels are amazing! They really feel like a miracle worker for her! I’m not saying they would work for anyone but maybe speak to her oncologist worth a try? Hope you get it sorted it’s such a worry and a horrible thing to go through I just wish there was a miricle Sad xx

Re: I need to get my mom to eat?

2 Mar 2018 22:16 in response to wonderwoman54
Hey everyone, thanks so much for you help and suggestions. Right now she's been doing pretty well with eggs/ smoothies but her intake is still not enough. She hates ensure right now because she always used to drink it during her long hospital stays, and she got really tired of it. Maybe I can try a different flavor. Thanks for the suggesting forticips.. I will have to try that. Thanks again everyone, it really helps having people with similar experiences share what works best for them. <3

Re: I need to get my mom to eat?

4 Mar 2018 10:21 in response to wonderwoman54

My dad had ensure and he enjoyed little rice pudding tubs. I read that (when I was worrying about his lack of appetite), that we shouldn’t make a big deal of it to the patient as they will stress over being seen to eat enough in front of us. 

Big hugs to you and your mum xx