Your best source of information is such a professional. Our non-profit 211Ontario.com site is a good step, but resources such as Altzeimer's Society, non-profit hospices (or look in your phone book!) and the Cancer Society provide much support. The Canadian Virtual Hospice has a huge site, with much information for caregivers. See also: World Health Organization’s Definition of Palliative Care
This is what to expect for someone with cancer: eating changes, less energy, unresponsiveness, breathing and swallowing (dysphagia) issues.
My father had a brain tumour. As with dementia, the effect on the brain is a diminishing of particular capacities.
The effect of a tumor and swelling on the whole brain affects the general functioning of the brain. As the cancer progresses it may produce these symptoms:
- increased sleep patterns
- mobility issues
- trouble speaking or understanding conversation
- loss of memory
- lack of ability to form new memories
- impaired judgment
- weakness, which may affect only one side of the body
- extreme mood changes.
Signs of dysphagia
• Coughing when eating or drinking
• Food or liquid spilling from the lips when eating or drinking
• Trouble moving food or liquid around in the mouth
• Prolonged chewing
• Trouble starting to swallow once food or liquid is in the mouth
• Clearing throat shortly after a meal
• Has a wet or gurgly sounding voice
• Complains of feeling that something is “stuck” after swallowing
• Shortness of breath during or right after mealtime
• Has frequent heartburn or bitter taste in the mouth
• Unexplained weight loss
• Recurrent chest infections
• Refusal to eat or reluctance to have food in the mouth
• Pocketing food or liquid in the cheeks or holding food in mouth
I had no idea that this was a common problem. It is too bad this information is not generally available. It would have explained my father’s behaviour and assuaged my fears. I fed him every day.