My son, eat honey, for it is good, Yes, the honey from the comb is sweet to your taste; Know that wisdom is thus for your soul; If you find it, then there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off. Proverbs 24:13-14 NASB
In this scripture Solomon explains knowledge, like honey, is sweet. Honey is sweet to taste, but knowledge is sweet to the soul.
I was told the last sense to go is taste. Sweetness is the last taste the body loses. Many of the elderly, especially those with dementia, only enjoy sweet things. My mother will refuse to eat many foods at meal time but will seldom turn down a dessert.
Before she used a wheelchair, I’d notice the cookies in the pantry would disappear at a rapid rate. Naturally, I was responsible for some of the vanishing snacks, but she out-paced me—considerably. Since her mobility is now diminished, I must provide her with cookies in the evening. I do it willingly, to prevent her weight loss.
The speech-therapy technician helped me understand the need for sweetness in my mother’s diet. It may be the only way to get the elderly to eat. She told of one patient who would only eat if the food was drizzled with maple syrup. For that impaired lady, the four food groups were syrup, sugar, candy, and cookies.
I was instructed to sweeten the food my mother refused to eat. For instance, after pureeing pork with barbeques sauce, she would reject it if the BBQ was slightly sour. However, after adding brown sugar, she consumed it and enjoyed it with super sweet baked beans. Sweet BBQ seemed natural, but it was difficult for me to sweeten foods not customarily served sweet.
For instance, after she refused to eat meatloaf, even if pureed, I added brown sugar, and she gobbled it up. After some experimentation, we learned to use sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, honey, maple syrup, and artificial sweeteners.
It helps me understand my mother’s sweet phase if I think of myself as a child. I remember, like most children, I enjoyed candy. As I matured my taste for sweets became more discriminating. For a while, I preferred the sweet-sour candies, but later I preferred candy bars that crunched. My last childhood phase was salty-nutty bars.
My taste for drinks evolved, too. As a boy, I was quite content to guzzle fruit-flavored, sugary beverages, but my taste changed to carbonated sodas. Then, my drink of choice was orange and grape soda. Now, when I taste a grape soda, I wonder how I could have ever thought like it.
My taste has changed over the years, so it seems reasonable to expect the same for my mother. Currently, I prefer my meatloaf with salt rather than sugar, but Mom prefers it different. Sugar seems to be her choice.
We all know adults shouldn’t have too much sugar. However, since Mother isn’t diabetic and is losing weight, I’m not overly concerned. We do use honey in her tea which I believe is a healthier form of sugar.
If the patient has blood-sugar issues or is overweight use artificial sweeteners. Stevia is an excellent choice. It is a natural sweetener that is readily available.
Many medicines for children are available in liquid form and sweetened so they will take it. In the same way, I am sweetening Mother’s food to get her to eat it. Solomon said knowledge is like sweetness to the soul. Likewise, knowledge of sweetness is essential when dealing with dementia patients.
© Copyright 2018 Ron Milburn