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Looking for eating help - 93 year old

Looking for eating help - 93 year old

Posted by JenG on Jan 5, 2021 8:46 am

Hi there,

My mom has stage 4 lung cancer, diagnosed way back in 2018. She lives on her own and has a lot of help from my brother and his wife who live down the street from her. She's currently on a light chemo treatment to try and keep the cancer at bay. We are currently in a stage where she's losing weight again. She has a history of dieting and doesn't have a big stomach to begin with. She's never been a snacker. The chemo definitely has cut down her saliva production, so food often seems dry to her. And the cancer may be affecting her voice and throat. Her voice is hoarse and she sometimes has trouble swallowing (though this could also be chemo related).

Any advice on what kinds of foods to have her try? High fat yogurt is one idea we're going to start with. She hates the meal replacement shakes. All ideas welcome! 

Thanks -
Jen.

Re: Looking for eating help - 93 year old

Posted by Trillium on Jan 6, 2021 12:13 am

Hi Jen, So sorry your mom is having trouble eating and losing weight. In the guide below on page 44 there is only a short page on eating.
https://www.cancer.ca/~/media/cancer.ca/CW/publications/Advanced%20cancer/32043-1-NO.pdf. It does say not to pressure someone to eat at this stage if they don’t want to. 

What about cream soups or chicken broth? Smoothies of favourite fruits with a veggie or two thrown in?

Hopefully others may have suggestions that may work for your mom.

Re: Looking for eating help - 93 year old

Posted by Cynthia Mac on Jan 6, 2021 5:50 am

Hi, JenG‍ , I usually recommend “hiding” extra calories in other foods. If she can tolerate ice cream, milkshakes would be a good option - go for the good, high calorie stuff, and use whole milk or even light cream. Sometimes the extra “cool” in the milkshake soothes the throat. Blending in a banana adds potassium and frozen cherries would be good, as cherries have pain relieving properties in them. Peaches have a summery taste she might enjoy, especially this time of year. The chemo may have skewed her taste buds, though, so she might not like some flavours. 

Otherwise, Trillium‍ ‘S idea of creamed soups is sound, and I would suggest bulking them up by adding a couple of ounces of butter to the pot. Again, the goal is to get those extra calories into her. Whey powder or protein powder can also be put into shakes and soups and mashed potatoes, and stews.

Stew can be made with ground beef, and you can blend part of a serving so that she can have the smoothness and still have a bit of a chewy consistency. Also, when cooking the stew, cut the meat and veg into much smaller sizes - no larger than 1/2”.

Dang. Now I want a milkshake!
“When the root is deep, there is no reason to fear the wind.” - Japanese saying

Re: Looking for eating help - 93 year old

Posted by JenG on Jan 6, 2021 9:10 am

Trillium‍ and Cynthia Mac‍ Thanks for thé ideas ( I see my French keyboard is on!). She has shown an interest in ice cream so that might be a good way to go. And I’ll check out the booklet. 

take care,
Jen

Re: Looking for eating help - 93 year old

Posted by Mammabear on Jan 6, 2021 10:13 am

The Living Kitchen cookbook is amazing with specific foods and snacks that assist with specific side effects for during and post cancer treatment. 
https://livingkitchenwellness.com/the-cookbook/
 

Re: Looking for eating help - 93 year old

Posted by chrys21 on Jan 6, 2021 12:19 pm

Hi JenG‍ 
My Dad (86 years old) suffered dramatic weight loss last year following a heart attack, surgeries and a host of new medications that caused side effects which affected his eating as he didn’t feel well. 
He has never been a big eater so his regular diet was not helping him to gain back the weight. He too hated the shakes but we kept persevering - we mixed them with fruit smoothies or cut them with milk and he got used to them. He continues to drink one every day. 
Other ideas including adding nutritious foods to everything she eats at every opportunity as every little bit helps. I did this with my daughter who is an extremely picky eater and was not gaining enough weight when she was 8 or so. So an avacado got thrown into every smoothie, if she was having crackers, a dollop of nut butter got added, whole milk for cereal, higher fat cheeses and yoghurt etc.
Hope this helps!
 

Re: Looking for eating help - 93 year old

Posted by Lacey_Moderator on Jan 6, 2021 1:47 pm

JenG‍ 

Another resource I like is: https://www.nourishonline.ca/ctan/


Let us know what works and how it goes. Wishing you well!

Lacey

Re: Looking for eating help - 93 year old

Posted by Steamy1 on Jan 6, 2021 2:00 pm

There is very little info out therew. I talked to a Dietician with the locaL HEALTH UNIT, AND SHE WAS CLUELESS. iWOULD  LIKE TO TALK TO A PROPER nUTITIONIST..I got a very good book from the Library,so i am going with
what ilearned from the Book,for now.I started a Regime of supplements,Viatamin E,Selenium,Folic Acid,Coenzyme Q10.Iam also on  fairly large Vegetable diet,i eat a Bowel of Fresh Fruit every Morning,And only eat Flax Rye Bread,Toasted.I found a recipe for Vegetable Chili which is absolutely Lovely and very Filling.Its hard to do just Vegetarian when your partner doesnt like it. So i
The
book is called What to eat when u have Cancer,and 1 of the Authors is Dr Diamond, who wrote the Book "Fit for Life"   I hope this helps u somewhat, on your Journey!!!


is do have meat and Fish occasionly.

Re: Looking for eating help - 93 year old

Posted by Steamy1 on Jan 6, 2021 2:24 pm

Meal replacement shakes are made with canned Milk! Its the only way they can get rid of it! Make her a nive Vegetarian Chilli, Jamie Oliver hasa excellent Recipe!

Re: Looking for eating help - 93 year old

Posted by WestCoastSailor on Jan 6, 2021 3:04 pm

I just tackled this question with Steamy1‍  over in the lung cancer forum here: https://cancerconnection.ca/discussions/viewtopic/68/67043?post_id=338799#p338799

And I love the suggestions here. There are two things I would add. I love Atul Gwande's book "Being Mortal. In it he talks about accompanying his father on the journey to death. He reports a conversation. "We had this quite agonizing conversation where he said—and this totally shocked me—‘Well, if I’m able to eat chocolate ice cream and watch football on TV, then I’m willing to stay alive." That has stuck with me. And every time I have a little dish of chocolate ice cream I think about the importance of eating things we enjoy. They may not be the best for our health but...

That said, "Butter makes everything taste better." So butter the toast! Carbohydrates and protein have about 3 calories per gram. Fat has about 9 calories/gram. So if you want bang-for-your-buck think about fats and oils. My dietitian was a hoot. We talked a lot about the discipline I had brought into my life to lose weight and I had to reverse all that to add calories. I discovered some things that have stayed with me. Sesame oil. olive oil, coconut oil, and butter all add flavor (and those sought after calories) to sauteed vegetables. So raw onions are about 40 calories per 100gms but saute or fry those suckers and they go to about 250 calories per 100gms! Sauces and gravies make a huge difference. Going from 2% milk to whole milk at 3.5% milkfat is good for the calories too.

Maybe talk to your mother about things that she enjoys and see if you can come up with some ways to add energy to them.

Angus
My story: http://journey.anguspratt.ca

Re: Looking for eating help - 93 year old

Posted by Trillium on Jan 6, 2021 3:05 pm

JenG‍  Another thought is a multivitamin for women over 55. The pharmacist may have a better suggestion for your moms age group

Re: Looking for eating help - 93 year old

Posted by robegree71 on Jan 6, 2021 7:25 pm

I am a Lung Cancer survivor so far and lost 25% of my body weight.
The foods that saved my life were creamed soups and some regular soups. Some a little spicy flavour which helped. Try a few and see what she likes.
I slowly started to eat crackers and a few other things my wife threw in and my appetite slowly came back.
Bob

Re: Looking for eating help - 93 year old

Posted by elle29 on Jan 7, 2021 11:53 pm

Hi Jen COCONUT MILK comes in tins here to our island . Perhaps u can find it in another better container . Look in the International section of Grocers . Or try order it by case from Hawaii 🏝❓❗️ . It is solid  thick , smooth and high in calories like eating icecream only better . 👍
Check with
 the Oncology Dietician , if there is a need for blood lab requisition to be done for triglycerides  , & LDH or ask about allergies 🤧 .
🥥 Milk not the dry flakes,  but solid that can be eaten with a spoon  🥄 . 
Totally healthy plant based food .I love it as a Thai chicken sauce on pasta , especially Rice Noodles that comes as a soup from my grocers . 
Can be used for tasty SAUCES mixed with veggies , chicken , soups as a base and so tasty   , as BEVERAGE on cereals , added to SMOOTHIES , baking , to tea , coffee and on top of fruit as a garnish . She may just may like it served in a nice dessert bowl with a liquor soaked cherry🍒 on top . 
The really special fact is if it's good enough for the Hawaiians and other islanders by the Palm Trees and azure blue seas .It may give your mother Happier Thoughts while eating drinking and someone cooking with it . 🏝 

Re: Looking for eating help - 93 year old

Posted by elle29 on Jan 7, 2021 11:54 pm

elle29:
Hi Jen COCONUT MILK comes in tins here to our island . Perhaps u can find it in another better container . Look in the International section of Grocers . Or try order it by case from Hawaii 🏝❓❗️ . It is solid  thick , smooth and high in calories like eating icecream only better . 👍
Check with
 the Oncology Dietician , if there is a need for blood lab requisition to be done for triglycerides  , & LDH or ask about allergies 🤧 .
🥥 Milk not the dry flakes,  but solid that can be eaten with a spoon  🥄 . 
Totally healthy plant based food .I love it as a Thai chicken sauce on pasta , especially Rice Noodles that comes as a soup from my grocers . 
Can be used for tasty SAUCES mixed with veggies , chicken , soups as a base and so tasty   , as BEVERAGE on cereals , added to SMOOTHIES , baking , to tea , coffee and on top of fruit as a garnish . She may just may like it served in a nice dessert bowl with a liquor soaked cherry🍒 on top . 
The really special fact is if it's good enough for the Hawaiians and other islanders by the Palm Trees and azure blue seas .It may give your mother Happier Thoughts while eating drinking and someone cooking with it . 🏝 

 

Re: Looking for eating help - 93 year old

Posted by K70 on Jan 8, 2021 10:42 am

Hi JenG
I completed 6 cycles of chemo in November and I can understand your Moms eating woes. I did find dry items tastes like cardboard and chewing some things was like chewing sawdust.  A few things I found that I was able to enjoy were:
Vanilla milkshakes
Mac and cheese, no crumb topping
Soups that I made in my instant pot where you can literally dump in so many veggies and add cheese, heavy cream, butter to increase the calorie content. 
Broccoli/carrot & Cheddar
Cauliflower with Carrot, potato & sweet potato
German hamburger soup, full of potatoes, peas, celery, carrot, canned tomatoes in a chicken stock and tomato coulis base. 
These creamed and hearty soups were nourishing and always agreed with my taste buds.
I would also make a homemade chicken broth and freeze in ice cube trays, store in a freezer baggie and then they can be warmed up in a mug to sip.
Wishing you all the best with your Mom, it’s very frustrating when things taste off during chemo to eat.  
 

Re: Looking for eating help - 93 year old

Posted by dmarie on Jan 8, 2021 5:58 pm

Hi JenG‍  Sorry to hear what you are going through with your Mom. I know how hard it is to be in that situation. When my Mom had esophageal cancer she had trouble with saliva and swallowing food and lost a ot of weight. Some of the successful foods were: eggs - omelet or soufflé, chocolate and butterscotch pudding (homemade if you have time) with whipped cream on top, custards and panna cota, pureed vegetables and smoothies. There are several brands of meal supplements and although she didn't like most of them we were able to find a couple of kinds that she would tolerate.