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Sugar craving - is this linked to advancing dementia? - Carers UK Forum

Sugar craving - is this linked to advancing dementia?

For issues specific to caring for someone with dementia.
My 79 year old husband has not been diagnosed with dementia BUT I have made my concerns known to the GP, who has acknowledged them.Also I was verbally able to mention some concerns to the Geriatric Consultant very quickly when husband was having blood tests. Problem is that he has 'mental capacity' and I just would not dare push for the memory clinic right now as he can be a difficult man anyway. Because he is so clever, I feel he may be able to cope with tests and even convince professionals to a degree. He is very confused though at times saying we lived at our present home for 28 years when it is 8 and asking where his vitamin pills are when he was taken off them 2 years ago when he had the kidney problems.

His weight is very low and he has been relying on Fortisps for the last couple of years with sometimes bananas and crispbread and cheese - Dietician very helpful in telling me to just let him have snacks rather than push formal meals.

The last few weeks he has been askign me to get chocolate daily when I get the paper. He is eating around a 200g bar each day. I do worry a little as he is not cleaning his teeth. That said, given his age, I am just going along with it for now, as he is at least keeping the weight on. I did a little research and 'sugar cravings' do seem to be quite common with advancing dementia.

Husband a nightmare to get eye drops in and would not wear the eye shield after the cataract operation. We have nurses to visit 2x a week to dress his legs but again it is a nightmare to get him not to take the dressings off.. One did mention that he was not sitting on the cushion given to him for his bed sores on his bottom/back and did give him quite a talking to !!! Tablets too a nightmare as he does nto want me to write in the 'tablet book' as he cannot read my writing yet constantly forgets to do it himself - he monitors his own painkillers as he takes when needed. I am at least staying on top of the other pills. He does insist he is better educated than the nurses although I diplomatically tell him that they are experts in their subject.

I dare not push too hard but he did say a few days ago that I should phone the GP and ask if he could have a head scan as he was feeling dizzy. I have not done this as he has scans booked on 21st May for his heart and his abdomen. But I wonder if deep down he knows something is not right.

Thanks for reading and I wondered if anyone else had noticed the increased sugar craving with advancing dementia a\nd how they handled it?
It sounds a bit like a 'Darwinian response'.....I can remember reading about how soldiers are sent into battle with bars of chocolates on them, so they can 'refuel in action'. Because sugar is the 'simplest food' and gives the quickest 'refuel' it could be that your husband's system, under 'attack' on multiple fronts from multiple morbidities, is 'craving' that instant hit/refuel that sugar can give.

To be honest, given his weakening health, and the difficulties you have in looking after him, does it actually matter if he is resorting to sugar?

There may be an argument that it can cause more damage, but Helena, is he not, sadly, in the 'final years of his life'???

Your role is 'mitigation' not cure any longer, and since the stress on you is near unbearable, I personaly would say that if him having lots of chocolate makes him 'happioer' then that trumps everything. Happiness over health??? (ie, at this stage of his life)

Will he eat 'sweet carbs' at least as well? The starchy food would be better for him than just 'sugary fat' in chocolate???
Actually I agree Jenny - if it makes him happy. Dietician phones every 3 or 4 months so may at least mention it to her next time she rings. He will occasionally eat chocolate biscuits which I guess is marginally more 'healthy' than chocolate and at least it is keeping his weight on. Not eaten bread for months even years although I did try toast when he was ill in Feb without success.

I guess I feel guilty as a carer, that I am allowing him to eat junk! I have now added more chocolate to the online Tesco.

Thanks for making me feel better. I guess I have always been very much in favour of eating healthily and a balanced diet but am fighting a losing battle with my husband and have been for years!
Helena, I personaly feel your priority is to do whatever it takes to make your life just a little, little bit easier. And if your husband is happier with sweets and sweet carbs then why not?!!!! Surely he's entitled to 'enjoy what he can' at this time of life, with all his other health problems - and YOU are entitled to make your own life as easy as it can be, given the difficulty and stress and sheer hard work of looking after him now!

(How did the cat show go? Any rosettes for your gorgeous chaps and chappesses??!)

(In my book, ALL cats are 'champions' - they certainly behave as if they are!) (my neighbour's cat is called Princess, and boy does the name fit - right little royal she is!)
My felines did ok Jenny and more importantly I got to see my cat friends for the day.

My lovely Montrachet got Best of Breed and Reserve Imperial. Theo got a Grand - his first - two more to go and as it was a double show, the lads, Tipp and Blaze got one certificate each! Little Heloise got 2 certificates - er...she was the only one in it so needs one more to make Champion. Very proud of my babies.

I was heartened that nurse agreed husband was confused - he is finding it harder to convince people he is ok I think and often puts medical staff onto me now partially due to his deafness.

Yes I have to do the best I can in the circumstances and have to agree if chocolate keeps his weight on and gives him pleasure then why not?
Congrats to your cats!!!! (I'm sure any cat that loses simply assumes the judge was an idiot.....!)

(My bro once put his feisty little dog into the local dog show. The judge very ill-advisedly wanted to see his teeth. He bit her. He got disqualified and expelled in disgrace. Dog was very pleased with himself. He doesn't like people looking at his teeth......)

Re your poor husband, yes, I suspect his days of convincing anyone that he is mentally superior to them are fading - but I think it would be tactful, wouldn't it, to 'indulge' him in this? (as, 'to his face', though in reality of course he needs to have whatever treatment is actually necessary). He seems to do it because somewhere inside he 'knows' his mental powers are failing, and that must be very frightening. It's his way of retaining what little control over his life that he can now.....

And I definitely think that if unhealthy food keeps him happy, that just isn't a problem any more.

Your role now is to 'usher him gently as possible' towards the inevitable, whenever that happens, taking what companionship you still can together, and getting what respite from the 'daily round' that you still can. Hoping that each day will be 'tolerably acceptable'.....
I am afraid there is very little companionship Jenny - he watches TV 24/7 attached to headphones. I see caring for him as the price I pay to stay in my home - it is in my name, and keep my beloved felines. I do my best. The love I felt for him died when the emotional abuse escalated although I do feel pity.

It has been a difficult couple of days. Husband had problems going to the loo and felt there was a blockage as could not put the suppository in (he is not taking lactulose properly! despite endless advice from nurses/doctors/consultants - I do leave it out on the coffee table as a prompt). He phoned 111 and they said initially they would send out an ambulance but then when phoned sent out a duty gp. He must have been in pain because when they said 'ambulance' he actually asked me to pack a bag and he ha always been against going into hospital. The Duty GP was worried that husband now said he could not pee so a nurse came out later and adminstered an enema. He did see to think that there could be a bladder infection and told us to get sample to gp - then agreed hospital as husband has scans due the next day.Nurse came and said retention was 'borderline' and to phone back if he had not peed by 9pm Thankfully he did. He went for scans but hospital would not do the dipstick test. He now won't allow me to take a new sample to GP as he says there is nothing wrong so just monitoring it. Old sample taking to hospital would now not be an option if I could find where he had put it!

He went to scans on his own - taxi door to door. However when he got back he told me he had done a lot of walking at the Airport. I did challenge and eventually got him to say he meant hospital. But he is confused. I have tried to get him to write down when he passes motions but he sometimes does not seem to know.

Nurse hopefully will come Friday to look at legs and maybe administer another enema. I am expected to dress the legs. She did offer to bandage on Friday but he did not want this as it causes problems having a bath. I am worried about the fluid leaking from the legs. I also find it frustrating to be given so much conflicting advice. The nurses are generally nice but GP felt he should have his sores on bottom dressed yet nurse felt it was not necessary and he does take the dressings off.

So nightmare trying to stay on top of his medication. Ok with morning pills and evening pills but painkillers he takes 'as needed' and he is so forgetful. I try to write them down for him but he gets annoyed at me writing in 'his' book yet he forgets. I think frankly this has to get to a crisis before anything will happen, The GP is aware of the problems as is the Consultant. But it is the 'grey' area where we cannot make him do anything as he has 'mental capacity' even if he is not acting in his best interests.

Thanks for reading. Hopefully today will be easier.