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Is refusing to eat a sign of dementia?

My 78 year old dad refuses to eat. it has been 2 months and 2 hospital stays and they cannot diagnose him with any medical problem. he is refusing home health and any type of food. he is naturally mean and cranky so it is hard to tell if he is not himself. He refuses baths and he is unable to get up to use the toilet. what to do?
Status: Open    Dec 31, 2014 - 12:30 PM

Dementia, Senior Health & Nutrition

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Expert Answers

Jan 03, 2015 - 10:27 AM

Only a physician can diagnose Alzheimer's Disease or other forms of dementia. My first recommendation would be to inquire with a neurologist and possibly have your father seen to diagnose whether he has some form of dementia.

According to the National Institute on Aging
When a person has Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia, though, the ability to prepare meals and eat independently may diminish, and mealtimes can become challenging, frustrating encounters for both the individual and the caregiver. Often, too, the person with dementia may be experiencing changes, such as decreased appetite, that are part of normal aging. Combined, these changes can lead to malnourishment and dehydration, increasing the risk of infections, poor wound healing, abnormally low blood pressure, and other problems.

I highly encourage you to read the full article at:

There may be any number of reasons that your father is not eating and pursuing every avenue to ensure that he has proper nutrition is essential to his health and wellness.


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