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Jun 28, 2011 10:30 AM

98-year-old needs to gain weight, doesn't eat enough: Food suggestions

Hey, my grandother has emphysema and the docs said she burns approximately 3000 calories a day just trying to breath. This is astonishing since she doesn't seem that bad and doesn't need oxygen really other than when she sleeps. Her nurse said to eat as much as she can and menioned ice cream, which is now, because that's what she heard, all she eats. She is a little sensitive about hard or chewy foods and has basically been eating yogurt, soft fruits and veggies, mashed potatoes and ice cream. she also is supposed to drink five Ensure drinks a day. She maybe drinks two.

Any suggestions on some foods that are high in calories, but low in difficulty to eat. Much appreciated.

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  1. My grandmother also needed to gain weight...we just make sure there is always an ample supply of cakes, cookies, and other soft baked confections sitting on the kitchen table so whenever she strolls through she goes to town.

    Now she needs to lose!

    9 Replies
    1. re: FoodExpression

      She does like her sweets, but the cookies have to be the soft variety. I wish I had the problem where I was told to eat more food!

      1. re: jhopp217

        jhopp, I do not indulge myself, but your mother does sound like the reason I voted to legalize medical marijuana. She may be very uncomfortable with the concept, but you can get it in pills, which may be easier for her to, forgive me, swallow, than the idea of smoking a joint. Good luck, and I hope my kids take as good care of me as you do of your mom. She must be a great lady.

        1. re: dvsndvs

          I know little about drugs legal or illegal, but if she does opt for medical marijuana, it would necessarily have to be the pill form, no?, since with the emphysema, smoking would be out.

          When my aged father was ill, he found the pudding form of Ensure far more palatable than the liquid. Something to try.

          1. re: pinehurst

            From what I've heard it's fat soluble so it can easily be incorporated into butter and/or cooked with (i.e. brownies, cookies, high fat foods). Issues would occur with dosing (where to draw the line between functional grandma and stoned grandma).

            1. re: HunterJay

              Yes, any dish that has butter or oil in it can be made with marijuana. Pesto, stir fries, mashed root vegetables, salad dressing, all kinds of desserts, you name it. If it were my grandma I wouldn't mind if she got a little high in her quest for an appetite (to my mind, that beats the side effects of the steroids recommended downthread).

              Oh, another idea - if you make a point of overcooking pasta it'll be mushy enough to eat but still delicious!

            2. re: pinehurst

              During a hospital stay, I was told that the Ensure pudding doesn't contain nearly as many nutrients as the liquid, which is a shame, because the pudding, as you suggest, is far more palatable.

              1. re: woodleyparkhound

                I used Ensure to make my father fruit smoothies. Instead of ice, which would have watered them down, I used frozen sliced bananas. For the purported health benefits, I also used some pommegranet juice. He loved the smoothies! Even when hospitalized I had to bring them to him. The nurses would keep the extra in their own freezer for him.

                On medical marijuana, many legal distributors also sell baked goods such as brownies. Just make sure that they are CLEARLY labelled so no one else eats any by mistake. I kept my Dad's, labelled in big CAPS, in a separate freezer in the garage so the kids wouldn't see them and try to sneak any.

        2. re: FoodExpression

          whatever she wants...God bless her...smoothies...mac and cheese..ask her what she craves..

        3. Maybe some real milk shakes with protein supplement--have you ever tasted Ensure? Blech.
          Easting that much when you have emphysema is difficult--I have a 60 year old friend with same problem and he is skin and bones.

          4 Replies
          1. re: escondido123

            I have tasted Ensure and doesn't know how she does it. I think she found a flavor she likes, but still.

            I was going to suggest to my father he get some kind additive and make milkshakes. She just has no energy to finish anyything though

            1. re: jhopp217

              My father has found that putting the ensure in the freezer for a few minutes makes it much more palatable.

              I also recommend protein powder to mix into shakes. Having many small nutrient dense meals is best - a too full tummy presses up on the already taxed lungs. If she likes peanut butter it is a great item to mix into shakes.

              1. re: llinza

                You can buy a good whey protein powder at WF that can be blended in a blender with fresh or frozen fruit. Add a little milk too and perhaps some flavored syrup. I put ice in mine, but you might not want to do that for grandma. With frozen fruit, the shake will be moderately thick but can be sipped through a straw. Mr. Sueatmo was advised to drink Ensure at one point in his life, and he hated it. He began eating flavored yogurt, and he continues to enjoy eating one a day.

                If she will eat it, baked fish is easy to eat and to digest.

              2. re: jhopp217

                I make a shake with Ensure 350 calories,1/2 cup ice cream,1 cup whole milk and 2 tbs peanut butter for about 1200 calories.

            2. One can of Ensure is a complete meal- vitamins, protein. The Health Professionals should have recommended it.

              Vanilla flavor is pretty generic and can be doctored up. Chill a can and blend with ice cream, syrups, etc. to make a fancy milk shake.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Cathy

                They did: five cans a day but she won't drink more than two, so I think doctoring them is a good idea.

                If she's eating mashed potatoes, load them up with as much butter and/or cream as you can. Make sure she's eating full-fat yogurt -- preferably Greek yogurt, which is more concentrated nutrition. Pretty much do the exact opposite of all the "tricks" to cut calories.

                But really, what does she like to eat? Does she like any foods with strong odors that will stimulate her appetite? And if it's legal in your state (ahem), then perhaps some way to incorporate some medical marijuana to stimulate her appetite?

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  Thats the funny thing. She will eat anything and everyhting, but has no appetite and gets exhausted eating. I had made a point to my father to get her full fat yogurt and when he went shopping the other day he stocked up....on low fat. He's 76....hard to teach an old dog new tricks.

              2. Well, after noticing that a pint of heavy whipping cream has something like 1600 calories (50 per tablespoon), could you get her eating whipped cream on foods she currently likes? Fruit, pound cake, etc?

                1 Reply
                1. re: DCLindsey

                  Good call.....I think he has some too. I'll put some in with her ice cream...probably not a pint though, haa

                2. Ice cream sounds good. If you make it at home, you can pack it full of cream and egg yolks, I've seen a recipe for 12 egg yolks! If she doesn't like it cold, egg custards.

                  Mashed potatoes, too, you can pack more calories in if you make it in the softer puree style, and basically it's kind of an emulsion of butter and cream.

                  My mom likes to drink Boost, maybe some variety might help her drink more.