@Shelbo - so much positive energy coming from this post. Thank you for sharing
I’ll get back to you later on that. I’ve just put the question to someone who used to care for the elderly. But she’s been retired for some time now. But she might have some ideas. What is your mums age again? I’m not at my computer to check, and I’m still learning to navigate the forum by phone It’s my latest rehab exercise to help improve my motor skills and hand dexterity Its coming but this one fingered typing is the pits
Hey @EmeraldEyes - there are many fine one finger typists!
Thanks for your help.
Mum is 94 years old, but physically and mentally (before the stroke) she was much younger (there is a term for it, but I can’t think of it right now). She was more like a 70 year old or even a 60 year old. She is really quite remarkable and it’s a shame the stroke has robbed her of so much.
Hope we’ll get her taste buds going. I am using pineapple chunks and rubbing them on her lips - a district nurse suggested this might help.
While I’m waiting for her to get back to me.
Is she physically able to swallow?
How are you looking after her mouth hygiene wise?
Another question that needs to be asked:
Does she still have all or some of her own teeth?
Yes, transfer service is available but it takes far too long for us. A 5 minute taxi drive (or self drive when we get our act together) and a few minutes on a bus to get back to town is far more enjoyable. We’re doing things under our own steam as far as possible. “Together we stand” and all that jazz.
Lorraine use text to speech that’s why I do
Yes, that’s something to work on, will also help with the aphasia…having to try speaking more clearly. Good one Simon, I’ll have to give it a try
I know you’ve used it for a while, but I’d never considered it for myself while I was still working on computer/keyboard reuse. But now that I’m advancing, that can be next target
Sorry it took a little longer than I expected
I take it there are no oral/dental issues that haven’t already been considered.
The only suggestions we can make is coating her mouth with glycerine to keep it moist.
Try lemon juice on a swab to reactivate and get the taste buds tingling.
This is best done using the foam tipped swab like above. And don’t saturate the sponge in lemon juice as you don’t want to risk her coughing or joking on droplets. Mint, ginger and honey are other good ones to tickle the taste buds with. Lemon flavoured lip balm might also help entice in between times
My friend would progress to things like Lemon Sorbet’s, ice-cream and even the smooth peanut butter. She did say that she’d be surprised and very disappointed if this technique hadn’t already been advised and in practise from the beginning.
This method has always been successful for getting residents back into eating, and naturally, soft baby food consistency to start with when they reach the stage of solids again.
However, she has no experience in this with someone who hasn’t eaten for 5 years. Discussing it with her, we wonder if your mother has forgotten how to eat, teeth can no longer tolerate food and drink, the stroke has destroyed that ability in her brain.
The fact that she covers her mouth with her hand when you try to give her something orally makes us wonder if there is a dental/oral issue that prevents her eating or drinking.
It was lovely to read this comment in your post Thankyou.
Many times when it’s all too difficult and life doesn’t have any joy for me my husband will say a similar thing to me , I can’t express to you how good it is to hear . .
Thank you for getting back to me with this information – sorry it has taken me a while to get back to you.
Mum is she physically able to swallow i.e. when she allows you to offer her water, she will swallow it without any problem. She also swallows a lot of the juices she generates during the day and never ends up coughing.
Mouth hygiene is a problem as she puts her hand across her mouth and blocks any attempts to clean the mouth – keeps it tightly closed. In the end, we had to “give up”. One of the healthcare professionals said it might be risky if she ends up pulling the sponge swab off and ends up swallowing it.
As a result, she now has a lot of plaque in her mouth. But when she first refused, her mouth was in a very good state of oral hygiene and she did allow it to be cleaned. Then one day, one of the hospital nurses was over enthusiastic (brushed too hard) during the clean and Mum started refusing from then on.
She has some of her own teeth but they are now covered in plaque.
Oral/dental issues may now be part of the issue since she has effectively refused oral hygiene for about four and a half years.
There is some sort of “self cleaning/oral hygiene going on – difficult to describe, but her mouth is clean (apart from the plaque), her tongue is nice and clean and her breath is fresh.
We will try to follow your friend’s suggestion and see if we can encourage Mum to resume food /drink by mouth. Thank you to you and your friend.
Mum may well have forgotten how to eat, or her teeth may no longer tolerate food and drink, and the stroke may have destroyed that ability in her brain. It’s difficult as the communication channel has also been severely impacted by the stroke.
Covering her mouth with her hand may be a defensive response (as she may have felt assaulted by the nurse who cleaned here mouth and which led her to start refusing – she was fine before that wrt oral hygiene, though of course she was nil-by-mouth at the time).
Anyway, I really appreciate you taking time to follow up and help out. If we make progress, I will make sure you are the first to know. I try to post some of our experiences on this forum.