I told my husband, who is having health challenges, that people literally, all over the world, listen to my advice and opinions on living the best you can until you can’t BUT to him,
I’m just a wife of 60 years.

Since he isn’t listening I’m going to share with you:

With gradual dying from disease or old age, nutrition, what and how much you eat, is the key to quality of living.

Over a period of months with disease and years with old age eating habits and needs change.

Appetite diminishes, the desire to eat decreases, and nothing looks appealing or tastes good. While all this is happening the body’s need to eat, for nutrition, for energy, increases. 

What becomes important isn’t how much you eat but what you eat—-three meals a day is too much. Six tiny snacks will work better for a while. Heavy meat and potatoes are too much while cheese and crackers, yogurt, and soups go down easier. Ice cream, malts, and smoothies are good all the time. 

Ensure Complete or high protein, high calorie smoothies become vital to meal planning. Ensure Complete is the highest calorie (350) and protein supplement (30mg) I have found.

Part of my husband, Jack’s, rationale for not eating is that we are an overweight society and it is healthier to be thin. Therefore, he believes he is healthier having lost 20 pounds and he should keep losing weight.  He is right, we are an overweight society, but as you have heard me say many times, taking care of someone as end of life approaches (disease or old age) is different than taking care of someone who is going to get better. There are new rules. Nutrition is one of the new rules. 

The basic new rule regarding nutrition at end of life is to have a bit of reserve, “meat on your bones,” not a lot of excess weight but a bit of a cushion. That reserve can add to the quality of life for a bit ——-isn’t that a gift we would all like to have?

—— To all you Caregivers out there my wish for you is patience (notice it is the one with a “C”), a listener you can share with and others to help you. Thank you for being mine today.

Something More About… Living Your Best Until You Can’t

For more on this subject, I suggest reading my booklet, A TIME TO LIFE: Living With a Life Threatening Illness. This booklet addresses issues of comfort, nutrition, and sleep as they relate to the palliative care patient. It provides guidance to help them live the best life they can within the confines of their body and disease. This booklet is part of the End of Life Guideline Series.  Caregivers will be supported by my guidebook, By Your Side, A Guide for Caring for the Dying at Home. It is knowledge and support for providing care at home. It is written for the Caregiver. 


Originally Published on https://bkbooks.com/blogs/something-to-think-about

Barbara Karnes Registered Nurse

Barbara Karnes, RN Award Winning End of Life Educator, Award Winning Nurse, NHPCO Hospice Innovator Award Winner 2018 & 2015 International Humanitarian Woman of the Year

While at the bedside of hundreds of people during the dying process, Hospice Pioneer Barbara Karnes noticed that each death was following a near identical script. Each person was going through the stages of death in almost the same manner and most families came to her with similar questions. These realizations led Barbara to sit down and write Gone From My Sight, "The Little Blue Book" that changed the hospice industry.