Mary Ann liked the chili.  At first she could not negotiate the spoon well enough to get anything into her mouth.  For whatever reason, her compromised spatial awareness (from the stroke or the Lewy Body Dementia or both) makes it difficult for her to use the spoon as intended.  Most often it gets turned over so that all she gets is what sticks to the back of the spoon.  It works for ice cream and sticky foods, but not for liquids. Sometimes she can get the spoon turned upright, but she can’t keep it level enough for a liquid to stay in it long enough to make it into her mouth.

After I crumbled lots of saltine crackers into her chili, soaking up the liquid, she was able to get a portion of it eaten.  She tried to cut off a piece of the freshly baked, very tasty, cinnamon roll so that she could eat that.  I saw her struggling with it and used the spoon to divide it into a number of pieces that she could pick them with her fingers.

We were sitting at a round table eating with former parishioners who pretty much took for granted Mary Ann’s struggles with eating.  They knew not to pay too much attention or offer to help, thereby making Mary Ann more uncomfortable.  The family at that table with us had lost two members, the Daughter and Wife of one, and the Mother and Sister of the other, both at a comparatively young age to a form of Alzheimer’s Dementia.

I quietly offered to assist Mary Ann by feeding her, but as expected, she refused the help.  She was clearly getting very frustrated, more so than she has in the past.  Since this was a church dinner provided by the Junior Youth and their Parents, there was not a menu with various items to choose from.  There was no option of picking something that would be easy for her to eat.

It is clear that we will need to check the menu for the next dinners at church to be sure there is something there that Mary Ann will be able to eat without much help.  Tomorrow evening is the Parkinson’s Support Group dinner.  While that group has other members who are debilitated, at the meetings, Mary Ann is usually by far the most limited in physical ability.  I hope that she is able to handle the meal.

What is at stake here is the potential loss of one of our main activities outside of the house.  Mary Ann has done pretty well at not being deterred from going out by the difficulty she has eating.  Her frustration this evening was intense enough that it could negatively reinforce the experience of eating out to the extent that she will just refuse to go.  She has always wanted to go out to eat.  We would eat every meal out if I would acquiesce to her wishes on the matter. As eating in public becomes more of a problem for her, she is beginning to let go of the need to go out.  While I am glad for the money we save by eating at home, we need not to cloister ourselves in the house.

Mary Ann napped for a couple of hours this afternoon and went to bed fairly early also.  She commented on the fact that is was a long day, the Bath Aide at 9am this morning, the Service and dinner this evening. She slept fairly well last night, and at the moment, she seems to be settled in.  We will see what tomorrow brings.

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