Jump to content

EXTREMELY low weight elderly (23kg)...


  • Please log in to reply
28 replies to this topic

#1 TillyTake2

Posted 23 December 2012 - 01:47 PM

A relative of mine is very elderly (mid 90s) & has been petite all her life. She has recently gone into hospital for dehydration & it turns out she weighs only 23kg!! I calculated her bmi & it would be around 9-10.

She can walk (with a walker) & apparently all her tests show that medically she is completely fine (apart from bloodworm showing signs of malnutrition).

There is a whole heap of background that I won't go into but I'm wondering how this is even possible?! How long can your body really live at that weight? I can't see her gaining any significant weight any time soon (she's been in hospital for 2 weeks and has not gained any weight). There is no medical reason for the weight loss, she is just fussy & would prefer not to eat than to eat something she doesn't want.

#2 Mousky

Posted 23 December 2012 - 02:05 PM

Sounds like my 91 yo grandma, she has mostly lost her sense of taste, so barely eats anything.

#3 TillyTake2

Posted 23 December 2012 - 02:07 PM

Any medical type people able to offer insight? Is this a long term sustainable thing? The nurses in the hospital seemed shocked. We are trying to work out what we should do in terms of planning. Obviously plans for her will be different if it's likely a matter of weeks or months vs potentially years. The thing that gets me is that they say medically she is "fine". How can you possibly be medically fine at 23kg?!!

QUOTE (Mousky @ 23/12/2012, 03:05 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Sounds like my 91 yo grandma, she has mostly lost her sense of taste, so barely eats anything.



I'm sorry to hear that sad.gif Is she in a nursing home or at home?

#4 snuffles

Posted 23 December 2012 - 02:08 PM

Not much you can do then I guess??

My Grandma lost a lot of weight before she died, she had Alzheimers and just stopped eating eventually.  All I can suggest is that you do what you can to make her last days/weeks as happy as possible.

sad.gif

#5 TillyTake2

Posted 23 December 2012 - 02:10 PM

I should add that mentally she is totally with it & has been living (alone) at home up until I made her go to hospital a fortnight ago. She is still of the impression she will be going home. Unfortunately the wait list for in home help is huge & she's not even had an ACAT assessment yet.

#6 porkchop's mama

Posted 23 December 2012 - 02:24 PM

As scary as those numbers sound, it's reassuring that your relative is still able to mobilise.  Without prying, does she have a history of depression or low mood that may be causing her to lose interest in food?  Her treating time are probably looking into whether her medications could be causing her to lose her appetite.  Does she have swallowing issues or poorly fitting dentures that make eating difficult or painful?

It can be difficult for people to put weight on even in hospital because the nutritional supplements prescribed are not to everyone's taste.

Without knowing the investigations performed, their results and what other illnesses your relative may have, it's difficult to prognosticate but as I mentioned earlier, if she is mobilizing and cognitively well, she doesn't sound in danger of deteriorating rapidly.

How long has your relative been at this weight?  Obviously a gradual decline would have different causes to a more rapid one.

With regard to the ACAT assessment, this would usually be done when medical and allied health teams are satisfied that she has reached her best functional capacity.  The actual assessment takes a few hours and once you have the paperwork and know what level of care she may require then it takes a while to organise service packages or placement depending on what your relative wants.  She sounds like she does have capacity to make this decision.

If there are concerns about discharge planning from the hospital's perseptive, a family meeting can be arranged where relatives can meet with the patient and the treating team (medical, OT, PT, nursing and social work) so that everyone's side of the story can be heard.

Hope this helps and isn't too vague.


#7 porkchop's mama

Posted 23 December 2012 - 02:26 PM

Forgot to mention, for some patients, ongoing rehabilitation in a dedicated unit (as opposed to the medical wards of acute hospitals) may be suggested to give them more time to reach their best function and avoid nursing home / high level care.  This would be suggested if the allied health team identify rehab goals for your relative that would be amenable to therapy.

#8 TillyTake2

Posted 23 December 2012 - 02:30 PM

She's been moved from a acute care unit to a rehab hospital but they can't give any indication on the plan.

She doesn't have a history of depression but they are trialling some antidepressants. Unfortunately she's not very compliant with medication & will just throw it away (& even though the nurses say they will supervise they don't).

She apparently has a history of abusing laxatives (although we only found this out recenty).

She has lost probably 10kg in the last few months & 10-15kg in the few years before that.

#9 Mousky

Posted 23 December 2012 - 02:36 PM

QUOTE (TillyTake2 @ 23/12/2012, 03:07 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Any medical type people able to offer insight? Is this a long term sustainable thing? The nurses in the hospital seemed shocked. We are trying to work out what we should do in terms of planning. Obviously plans for her will be different if it's likely a matter of weeks or months vs potentially years. The thing that gets me is that they say medically she is "fine". How can you possibly be medically fine at 23kg?!!




I'm sorry to hear that sad.gif Is she in a nursing home or at home?


She is currently in hospital as she had knee surgery but otherwise she is at home by herself.  I work in very high care disability and when someone is under weight, there are things like Ensure puddings and drinks that you can order from the chemist. Aparently they are quite nice, but nan wont have them.  Other than the knee, she is quite well, very with it, so hopefully will be like the durocell bunny original.gif


#10 snuffles

Posted 23 December 2012 - 03:13 PM

It does sound much more hopeful than I thought.  Hope she keeps on!!!  original.gif


#11 Froger

Posted 23 December 2012 - 03:20 PM

I know an elderly person like this (a relative on my ex's side). She has been seriously underweight for a good two decades now. She seems to exist on cups of tea and takes great delight in cantankerously refusing all the lovingly prepared food that her close relatives, friends and neighbours make for her. She is in her mid 90s now, and continues to be in reasonably good health (although she did break her leg once) despite seemingly existing on pretty much nothing.



#12 skylark

Posted 23 December 2012 - 03:26 PM

My grandmother was a chainsmoking alcoholic and anorexic and managed to live into her mid-90s at a weight in that range. She was a couple of inches under 5 feet tall to start with, and like a tiny shrivelled skeleton. She was very proud of how thin she was. She was active and lived at home alone right until the last 6 weeks of her life.

I have no idea how any of that is even possible, it defies all kinds of logic. She used to cackle and say "My hate keeps me alive." She was an awful person.

#13 Dylan's Mummy

Posted 23 December 2012 - 03:37 PM

Regarding the puddings that a PP mentioned. When my Dad was in hospital recently, we found that he had lost a lot of weight and lost more during his hospital stay. He had these pudding/custard type meals in hospital and ended up putting on a bit of weight. He doesn't really eat much due to having cancer, being very tired and also because the type of can we makes it almost impossible to eat solid food. He liked eating the puddings and they helped him gain some weight. He wouldn't eat the other puréed they made for him (meat, veges).

The puddings are expensive so Mum researched on the internet and managed to order the same ones a lot cheaper from overseas, so have a look I to that.

#14 TillyTake2

Posted 23 December 2012 - 03:45 PM

QUOTE (skylark @ 23/12/2012, 04:26 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
My grandmother was a chainsmoking alcoholic and anorexic and managed to live into her mid-90s at a weight in that range. She was a couple of inches under 5 feet tall to start with, and like a tiny shrivelled skeleton. She was very proud of how thin she was. She was active and lived at home alone right until the last 6 weeks of her life.

I have no idea how any of that is even possible, it defies all kinds of logic. She used to cackle and say "My hate keeps me alive." She was an awful person.


Lol. I had to laugh as my grandmother is also a horrible person (as awful as that is to say). I have joked with my husband that evil preserves you.

#15 TillyTake2

Posted 23 December 2012 - 03:48 PM

We have tried the puddings (& the 2 cal drink) but she refuses.

She insists the food is disgusting (it's not, she's in a lovely private hospital & I've personally sampled some of her food). She also has complaints about the "foreign" staff etc but we won't go there. All in all she's not particularly popular on the ward!

#16 #YKG

Posted 23 December 2012 - 04:06 PM

Keep in mind that as you get older your appetite does de tease significently. While you may be starving after 2 crackers and a cup of tea many older people in their 90's will find it filling. TBH with many over 90 year olds I have experience with eat very little, weigh very little but are active and medically ok. Your body as you get older appetite does decrease and weightloss in older people is common.

Have a chat to her Dr they will be in a better position to explain the good,bad or indifferent to her current needs.

#17 TillyTake2

Posted 23 December 2012 - 04:48 PM

Yeah tube feeding etc has been ruled out & at the end of the day it is her choice to eat or not. At this point our biggest fear is that she will be sent home without the support in place (as the waiting lists are too long) as they believe she should go into a nursing home which she refuses.

If they send her home then we will be forced to go morning and night to help her (or leave her to die on her own which obviously we can't do). She lives an hour from us & has only 2 living relatives (myself & my dad). Well technically my brother too but she alienated him many years ago.

It sounds horrible but at this point I think the best thing is for her to just peacefully go off to sleep & not wake up but the fact she seems to be "healthy" & surviving at such an insane weight makes me think this is pretty unlikely.

The fact she has refused any help in the past puts us in a really hard position as she's not had any of the assessments or gone on any of the waiting lists for help.

#18 Guest_LeChatNinjah_*

Posted 23 December 2012 - 05:00 PM

If she's not interested then it's going to be really hard, but if she could force them down those Ensure and Sustagen drinks really help my mum, who battles with being underweight as well.

Good luck, it must be so difficult for family  sad.gif


#19 TillyTake2

Posted 23 December 2012 - 05:18 PM

Yeah we've tried making everything from puddings to biscuits to pies to lemon tarts, quiches etc. She will take a couple of bites & toss it or say that it lacks salt/pepper/herbs, has too much salt/pepper/herbs etc!!

Apparantly she also takes laxitives so basically even of she does eat something it just comes out. They (drs) think she's probably been doing it a long time.

I don't think she's trying to die (she's still very concerned about her clothes/makeup/appearance & makes sure we are caring for her huge gardens and pool!) so she doesn't seem to have lost the will to live.

It's just so crappy as she's so manipulative & selfish & she will just insist that we have to come every day or leave her to starve sad.gif

Is there any emergency way of getting care at home when you haven't served the 6-12 month waiting list?

#20 Fenrir

Posted 23 December 2012 - 05:24 PM

QUOTE
Keep in mind that as you get older your appetite does de tease significently. While you may be starving after 2 crackers and a cup of tea many older people in their 90's will find it filling. TBH with many over 90 year olds I have experience with eat very little, weigh very little but are active and medically ok. Your body as you get older appetite does decrease and weightloss in older people is common.

This. You also lose taste as you get older and eating becomes a chore rather than a pleasure. My MIL couldn't have weighed more than that when she died either.

The other option to get nutrients into her is Sustagen. The nursing home where  my MIL spent her last days used to supply these and they could have as little or as much as they wanted when they wanted.

Another possibility, as much as it may upset you, is that this is her way of saying she has had enough. There comes a time when life is not what it used to be for our elderly. They have aches and pains and have seen and done all that they wanted. It could be that she is just tired of life and wants to do it in her own way.

I remember how crotchety and stubborn  MIL got towards the end. Food had no taste so she didn't eat nearly enough. The staff were the wrong kind of person. They were mean and horrible to her etc etc. She was put on AD's as well but there was no improvement.

By all means push for ACAT but do not be surprised by what they may say.


#21 TillyTake2

Posted 23 December 2012 - 05:31 PM

She orders the laxatives from the chemist who home delivers. Because she is of sound mind we have no say in anything apparantly sad.gif

I was told there was a 6-12 month wait by the 3 different social workers I've spoken to & they said the only other option is a nursing home which she refuses.

The biggest "problem" is that she is deemed to be of sound mind so she has total control over all decisions.

She has signed an advanced directive (but even this only happened a week ago & she still talks about how that was a mistake). My dad will have power of attorney but that only comes into effect if/when she is incapable of making decisions.

#22 TillyTake2

Posted 23 December 2012 - 05:33 PM

QUOTE (Alpha_Chook @ 23/12/2012, 06:29 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
My guess is that they have a done a heap of blood tests and they have all come back normal...she is cognitively OK, doesn't have any complaints regarding pain so theres not a lot they can say I guess.


She has plenty of complaints regarding pain lol

She has a bad back & takes panadol & iboprophene.

She reports she is "allergic" to almost every medication under the sun so this makes things difficult.

#23 TillyTake2

Posted 23 December 2012 - 05:37 PM

I guess if we had any idea how long this could go on for we could make decisions like paying for private help etc but the problem is, we can't really do that if this could go on for a year or more.

I can't believe she can continue to live in this state but my gut says she will still be chugging on this time next year so we can't really go paying for private help for years to come.

#24 Peanut

Posted 23 December 2012 - 05:58 PM

QUOTE (Dylan's Mummy @ 23/12/2012, 03:37 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Regarding the puddings that a PP mentioned. When my Dad was in hospital recently, we found that he had lost a lot of weight and lost more during his hospital stay. He had these pudding/custard type meals in hospital and ended up putting on a bit of weight. He doesn't really eat much due to having cancer, being very tired and also because the type of can we makes it almost impossible to eat solid food. He liked eating the puddings and they helped him gain some weight. He wouldn't eat the other puréed they made for him (meat, veges).

The puddings are expensive so Mum researched on the internet and managed to order the same ones a lot cheaper from overseas, so have a look I to that.


Gosh, this is pretty much my Dad too.  I'm so glad I stumbled over this thread because I'd never heard of the Ensure Puddings before.  My Dad has put on weight with each hospital stay but loses it almost immediately after returning home despite all the meals my Mum tries to get him to eat.

Can I ask where you were able to order them through?  Would you mind pm'ing me if its not allowed to mention it publicly?

Sorry OP, didn't mean to butt in.

Edited by Peanut, 23 December 2012 - 05:58 PM.


#25 ednaboo

Posted 24 December 2012 - 09:26 AM

QUOTE (TillyTake2 @ 23/12/2012, 03:30 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
She's been moved from a acute care unit to a rehab hospital but they can't give any indication on the plan.

She doesn't have a history of depression but they are trialling some antidepressants. Unfortunately she's not very compliant with medication & will just throw it away (& even though the nurses say they will supervise they don't).

She apparently has a history of abusing laxatives (although we only found this out recenty).

She has lost probably 10kg in the last few months & 10-15kg in the few years before that.

Is it possible she has had a life long Eating Disorder, which has deteriorated significantly with age?  If so, it will be difficult for her to change now.  Her BMI defes logic.  Most people would be at deaths door by about 11.  Are you sure you calculated it correctly?

The hospital should have access to a dietitian who can prescribe a variety of supplements such as Resource Plus, Ensure Plus, TwoCal etc.  I find Sustagen Hospital tasted the best though.

Peanut: you can buy Ensure Puddings from most pharmacies.

Edited by ednaboo, 24 December 2012 - 09:28 AM.





1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users

 

Funny Father's Day cards

A little fun never goes astray when celebrating special occasions and Father's Day is no different. We've rounded up some funny Father's day cards for your husbands, fathers and other important men in your lives.

Electronic tags may keep newborns safe

The possibility of using electronic bracelets for mothers and their newborn babies is being investigated by Adelaide's Women's and Children's Hospital. 

Baby steps: when your little one starts walking

As a parent there are so many milestones to look forward to. That first smile, first word - and, of course, that first step.

Julia Watson's new book 'Breakfast, School Run, Chemo'

Tomorrow my friend Julia launches her first book. And while we're all overjoyed, the success is tinged with sadness. You see, Julia has stage 4 bowel cancer.

How not to name twins

Call me boring, but I don't think that when it comes to choosing my twins' names is the right time to use a good pun.

Fun Sunny Life pool inflatables just for babies

The babies of 2015 will thus be thrilled to paddle their happy baby legs in these brand new flamingo and swan baby inflatables.

Baby and bulldog born on the same day are best friends

When Chicago mum Ivette Ivens saw a French bulldog puppy who had the same birthdate as her son Dilan, she "just knew it?s meant to be" and took him home. Five months later, puppy Farley and Dilan are the best of friends - as Ivens says, "I?m pretty sure Dilan thinks they?re both the same species, as they walk at the same level and are both going through the stage of chewing on everything.?

Breastfeeding basics for beginners

Here are 10 tips to help make breastfeeding successful and stress free for both you and your baby as quickly as possible.

Girl smothers baby brother with peanut butter

This mum had a big clean up job on her hands.

How to hide those under eye shadows

Pandas are the only ones who benefit from under-eye shadows. If you're not fluffy and cute, you'll just look tired.

Young mum dies after being denied pap smear

A mother has died after she was denied a pap smear because she was deemed "too young" to need it.

Birthday cakes banned at childcare centre

A childcare centre in Sydney has banned birthday cakes after parent complaints about excessive sugar and children with allergies being left out.

Triplet surprise for newlyweds

As the radiographer moved the wand over her abdomen, Shelley King got the surprise of her life.

3 yummy Thermomix baby and toddler recipes

Louise Fulton Keats shares her recipes for babies and toddlers, including corn and sweet pikelets, pumpkin and pea risotto, and cheesy bunny biscuits.

Man arrested over toddler Nikki's death

A 31-year-old man has been arrested over the death of two-year-old Nikki Francis-Coslovich in Mildura.

Adoption ban on pregnant women to be lifted

Pregnant women will no longer be barred from adoption waiting lists in NSW, after the Baird Government decided the practice was discriminatory.

Are you getting enough magnesium?

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body, but we don't talk enough about it and the vital role it plays in great health and energy, as well as disease prevention.

5 workplace lessons for new parents

Take heart in these principles that will transfer seamlessly from the workplace into your new life as a parent.

Mums to follow on Instagram

A creative outlet for many, there are some savvy women complementing their blogs and businesses with riveting Instagrams feeds. We've chosen a few which have bucketloads of appeal; there are some big time players and some smaller local ones, and they each bring their special brand of magic to the Instagram experience.

Review: The Volvo 2015 XC90 SUV has all the safety features your family needs

The new Volvo XC90 SUV's focus on keeping you safe does not come at the expense of comfort in the XC90.

Kim Kardashian reveals she may have hysterectomy

Kim Kardashian has revealed complications during pregnancy means she might have to have a hysterectomy after the birth of her second child.

Why late night snacks wreak havoc on weight loss

 Loath as you may be to admit it, chances are that at some point you have found yourself in the kitchen late at night, devouring food.

Toddler twins pretend to be asleep to fool mum

They say twins have a unique connection. If this cute clip is anything to go by, these toddler sisters like to use their special bond to try to fool their mother.

Dad bags: 10 picks for out and about

Getting out of the house is a big priority in the early years of parenthood and you need to take a well-stocked kit with you. We've chosen 10 of the best nappy bags sure to appeal to dads in style and function.

Win a Mountain Buggy Swift

To celebrate Essential Baby reaching half a million Facebook fans, we have a Mountain Buggy Swift to giveaway to a lucky fan.

Get your FREE Baby & Toddler Show ticket!

Get your free ticket to the Sydney Essential Baby & Toddler Show for September 25-27 - register online now.

 
Advertisement
 
Advertisement
 
 
 

What's hot on EB

Dads who do their share have more sex: study

For women trying to encourage their partners to take more interest in fatherhood, it could be the ultimate incentive.

Think you might have IBS, coeliac disease or Crohn's?

Conditions affecting the gastrointestinal tract are common in modern humans, and many are on the rise - including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and coeliac disease.

Couple poses for newborn shoot with adorable puppy

Tired of being asked about their baby-making plans, Australian couple Matt and Abby decided to give a creative answer.

The exercises you know you should be doing (but probably aren't)

I bet your to-do list today is long. But somewhere on that massive list, are you making time for your pelvic floor?

This baby really loves the family cat

Some babies get excited when mum or dad come to get them from their cot after a nap.

Designer kids clothing good enough to eat by Oeuf

Even if you aren't heading to the Northern hemisphere in the next six months, you can't help but love the amazing food-themed knits for babies and kids by cult kids brand Oeuf.

Early exposure to peanuts recommended for allergy prevention

A paediatricians' group is recommending that infants at high risk of peanut allergies be given foods containing peanuts before they turn one.

Home brand foods contain less salt than pricier rivals

Supermarket home brand foods, long derided as cheap and inferior, contain far lower levels of salt than pricier, branded rivals, new research shows.

Nannies for hire, wherever you're flying

Ever dreaded the prospect of a long flight, dreaming about how wonderful it would be for a nanny to entertain the kids?

Couple poses for newborn shoot with adorable puppy

Tired of being asked about their baby-making plans, Australian couple Matt and Abby decided to give a creative answer: with an unusual photo shoot with their 'baby', a groodle (poodle/golden retriever cross) named Humphrey. The talented Elisha from Elisha Minnette Photography caught all the precious shots.

Is it okay to name your baby with a sense of humour?

My husband was sure that Danger was a good option for a boy. And as the pregnancy progressed, it actually started to sound really good.

Woman gives birth after having her own mother's uterus transplanted

In a world first, a healthy baby has been born from the same womb that nurtured his own mother.

So hot right now: double-barrelled baby names on the rise

It's one way to make your baby stand out from the pack – giving them not one, but two first names.

Second time around: is it really better the devil you know?

When I fell pregnant with my second child I was, naturally, very excited. Then it all started to come back to me - and I freaked.

Shopping with kids: breaking the pester-power cycle

You're out shopping with your little one and they're incessantly whining that they want a treat. It's easy to say no ... the first time, at least.

How did we have babies before apps came along?

Three months ago, my wife, Chrysta, and I were driving along Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles when she let out a harrowing cry.

When your toddler disagrees

There comes a time when your child starts having different views to you. I didn't realise that time would come so soon.

Win a Pacapod this Father's Day

To celebrate dads and families, we are giving away a Picos Pack from Pacapod Australia filled with a few extra goodies ENTER NOW

 

FREE TICKET

Discover the magic of the LEGO DUPLO Play Area in Sydney

Get your free ticket to The Essential Baby & Toddler Show and save $20 - register online now!

 
Advertisement
 
 
Essential Baby and Essential Kids is the place to find parenting information and parenting support relating to conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids, maternity, family budgeting, family travel, nutrition and wellbeing, family entertainment, kids entertainment, tips for the family home, child-friendly recipes and parenting. Try our pregnancy due date calculator to determine your due date, or our ovulation calculator to predict ovulation and your fertile period. Our pregnancy week by week guide shows your baby's stages of development. Access our very active mum's discussion groups in the Essential Baby forums or the Essential Kids forums to talk to mums about conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids and parenting lifestyle. Essential Baby also offers a baby names database of more than 22,000 baby names, popular baby names, boys' names, girls' names and baby names advice in our baby names forum. Essential Kids features a range of free printable worksheets for kids from preschool years through to primary school years. For the latest baby clothes, maternity clothes, maternity accessories, toddler products, kids toys and kids clothing, breastfeeding and other parenting resources, check out Essential Baby and Essential Kids.