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Not eating

by Chris

Question: My mother had a left brain stroke with aphasia 2 1/2 months ago. She has her mobility and still attends speech and language therapy, however, she barely eats. She says she is not hungry and has lost 35 lbs. in 2 1/2 months and is extremely tired all the time. Recently, she went back in the hospital for a day for dehydration. She says there is no issue with swallowing (was tested for this) or metal taste in the mouth. How do I get her to eat? What do I do to help her get some calories, nutrients in her body and gain weight? Everything I have tried she will take a bite of.

Answer: There are shakes such as Ensure and Boost to help those who need more nutrition. There are also protein packets or liquids that can be added to drinks. I would seek the help of a nutritionist who can give you some ideas of some higher calorie foods or supplements that can be used. Plus, a nutritionist could help you know what foods to avoid that would not be good for her due to health conditions (thought this may not be as important since she is barely eating). I would focus on higher calorie foods like avocados or peanut butter rather than a larger quantity of food. You could also talk to her MD to see if an appetite stimulant might be appropriate or to find out if any of her meds are affecting her appetite.

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