Does diet make that much difference?

marti8aApril 29, 2011

I really don't know why I am asking this, except for my own information, as mil is not going to change anything.

Background is that fil has Parkinsons. A doctor a few years ago told them that at his age, it's not going to make any difference what he eats, so eat what he wants. And he does, just like he has always done. It's coffee and cookies for breakfast, Dr. Pepper and a sandwich for lunch, go out to eat at dinner, or a hamburger casserole (heavy on the salt) at home, and ice cream several times a day. Snacks are cakes, cookies, and peanuts.

No fruit, no fresh vegetables, canned green beans if anything, but mostly carrots and potatoes.

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As long as he's happy, I wouldn't worry. He's got a long slow progressive terrible disease. I guess the only thing I'd say, as a member of the family, is whether he asks for a different menu than the rest of the household. (I tend to not tolerate that for children or elders, only for people who have documented food restrictions.)

Don't worry yourself. I think the same question was asked recently in another thread, and it's the same. Do you want to eat your spinach and for 6 more months in a nursing home or go out with ice cream and Dr. Pepper sooner?

One of life's great mysteries, I guess.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 9:17PM
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Sorry, I didn't even do a search before asking. He doesn't eat with us often enough for it to be a problem, but because of him, mil doesn't cook what she likes, only what he likes. He doesn't like poultry or pasta either.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 10:43PM
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Are you asking if a poor diet is what caused the Parkinsons? That something what no one knows.

I agree, let him eat what and whenever he wants. It's what he is used to and he likely enjoys the taste of certain things. A "good" diet isn't going to make him well or slow the progress of the disease.

Just do what you can to support your mil. She's may be in for a tough time.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 11:16PM
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Don't worry about a search. It was on the ethics of feeding a healthy diet to someone with a disease like AD or Parkinson's. And the consensus was that the patient's diet wasn't a health issue, but a patient-management issue.

As with all caregiving situations, your MIL needs to take care of herself first. If her health falters, then who will take care of her husband? She needs to eat a healthy diet, whatever she prepares for her husband. And she needs to take care to manage her own stress. That includes diet, stress-relief, general peace of mind.

Here's my hint---make sure that your MIL is taking care of herself and the best you can do is help her with her own stress relief.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 11:35PM
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Agnes, no I wasn't asking if diet makes a difference with Parkinsons. I should have clarified. I just wondered if it makes a difference with his health at this point in his life. I keep thinking he would feel better if he ate healthier. I'd sure feel tired and sluggish if I ate junk all day.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2011 at 10:44AM
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About the only thing that can be said about his diet now, is that it seems to give him a day-long supply of sugar, which mean an easy quick fix for energy.

You are correct, a diet like his would make me sluggish too. However, it might be what his body is using best at this time with his disease. Carbs, especially the sugars are easily digested and converted into energy.

At any rate, his wife needs to be aware of the need for a good diet for HER needs. She's got to be the one that stays as healthy as possible. Let's hope that she just doesn't give up because it's too much trouble to fix herself something extra.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2011 at 11:20AM
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You might want to see if his wife can slip a good tasting protein/fiber drink into his diet; it will help a little bit. There's a brand called Boost; it's hard to find the Fiber-added one, easier to find the High-Protein variety. The chocolate is amazingly good, it's much better tasting and lower in sodium than Ensure. Lactose-treated so won't upset those who are lactose-deficient.

Parkinson's eats away at the body because of the constant tremors. Even for the wife it might be a good idea to add something to her diet.

As one ages, appetite decreases, and it gets more difficult to eat enough to get sufficient vitamin/mineral intake. We've had to put 83-yr-old MIL on both liquid multi-vitamin supplements and a daily Boost drink, because there were days I saw that her protein intake was less than 4g/daily, way under what she should have.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2011 at 4:32PM
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