Dementia and Overeating - My Mom is Eating Us Out Of House and Home

One caregiver's story of dealing with a loved one with dementia who wants to eat constantly.

Dementia and Overeating - My Mom is Eating Us Out Of House and Home

Dementia and overeating...

Has anyone ever dealt with your family member with dementia wanting to eat more than usual?

My mother had her usual breakfast, then her favorite oatmeal cake, for a snack . Later, she wanted a grilled cheese sandwich with a bowl of vegetable soup.  (She put her soup over her sandwich and preceded to eat it all with a fork).

Then, not more than 30 minutes later, she tells me she is was starving.

I made her a peanut butter and banana sandwich and a small bowl of  vegetable soup. She asked to a  cookie, after all that.  Less than 2 hours later, she told me she was hungry again.

This time, I gave her a boost milk shake.  While I was fixing dinner,about an hour later, she was snacking on the veggies I was cooking. When we sat down to supper, she ate almost all of it. She then had a bowl of frozen yogurt with her meds.

We stayed occupied all day but, she just wanted to eat and eat. Is this normal? What should I do? Should I be concerned?

There are times when a person with dementia, may eat more than normal. This could be due to the fact, they do not remember eating the first time. There are chemical changes in the brain, that can occur, that causes an increase in appetite. It is not understood why. For some, this is a temporary stage and will pass.

The concern here is that someone does not eat to the point of discomfort or gain a lot weight due to overeating.

People with dementia tend to crave carbohydrates and sweets. It is thought these types of food provide comfort and also decrease depression. It is important to try and encourage a nutritionally balanced diet. But, with some family members, that is easier said, than done.

There are some persons with dementia that will scavenge for food. I have had patients, over the years, that will go into trash receptacles and pull out food that was thrown away. This could be dangerous, as they may ingest foods that are dangerous or unsuitable.

In this case, you may need to take some drastic measures and put locks on cupboards and trash receptacles.