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Why does my husband crave sweets? He was never a sweet eater before he came down with AD.

Answered by David Troxel

September 4, 2013

Why does my husband crave sweets? He was never a sweet eater before he came down with AD.

I smiled when I read your question since my mother Dorothy, who passed away with Alzheimer’s in 2009, loved her ice cream (sometimes three times a day) and like your husband, was not much of a sweet eater.

We know that taste buds and the sense of smell diminish with age. There actually seems to be less sensitivity for sweets as we get older. But for the person with dementia (and many of us) sweets are a comfort food.

My co-author in the Best Friends series of books I write, Virginia Bell, has often said that an ice cream cone is a magic since the person has to attend to it while enjoying a pleasurable experience that evokes feelings of childhood.

As strange as the change in taste may be, I say run with it if there isn’t a major issue around diabetes or weight gain (if so you might want to substitute some sweet fruits like watermelon or try some substitutes like sugar free Jell-O).

Your job as a caregiver can be stressful—I hope you partake in some good (healthier dark) chocolate or an ice-cream cone soon. When you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

Thoughts and stories from others

  1. May 3, 2015 at 07:13 pm
    Posted by Karen

    What do you do when you find your mom not being compassion towards my dad who has Alzheimers. When we try to help or give her advice, she'll say that they are telling me what to do! Won't go to any support groups, and every morning waking up bitter-- she said that he won't do as you ask, but there are ways to go around that that she won't take the time to do--We finally got him a power chair that he needed months ago, but won't use it--- he's hard getting around, and had fallen too. She needs home care help but don't want to spend the money, she tight with $$$
  2. September 11, 2013 at 11:34 am
    Posted by MAK

    My mom had a pretty severe problem with Caffeine Free Diet Coke and snickers. I had to use a little tough love. I gradually, and gradually diminished those items from her diet. Occasionally, she gets a caffeine free diet coke, and occasionally gets snickers. I had to hide the snickers, and just didn't buy diet coke. I chose to buy flavored drinks - that she likes. I also give her a couple of snack size snickers on occasion. It has worked pretty well. She recently had her blood checked and everything looked very well. That's the way I did it.
  3. September 10, 2013 at 09:15 pm
    Posted by Aileen

    I find it kind of funny I don't remember my mother eating lots of sweets but since being diagnosed in 2009 I would grocery shop with her and she would love the ice cream which she would have gone in 2 days. I really seen the big difference when I moved her in with my husband and I when my husband and I would go to the store we would tell her to get what she wants and it's cookies,ice cream, candy. Breads like banana and she will take all the stuff other than the ice cream and put in her room it's like she doesn't want anyone else to have it and she won't eat the good stuff
  4. September 10, 2013 at 08:49 pm
    Posted by Linda

    I am a caregiver for my husband,all he want's to eat are sweet's.
  5. September 10, 2013 at 08:43 pm
    Posted by Jean

    My mom passed away at the age of 88. She had dementia. Also diabetic, but was treated with meds. I let her have what ever she wanted. Her being happy was the key . It is to hard for them to understand and if doesn;t hurt them it keeps them happy.

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