Welcome to Feeding a Loved One Who is Sick (FLOWS)

What is this blog?

In this blog, I share what I have learned as a dietitian practitioner-researcher how eating and feeding rituals, routines, roles and responsibilities change in households when someone is living with a serious illness. My hope is that in reading and reflecting upon this information, readers who are taking care of someone who is sick or who are, themselves, living with illness, will draw some comfort knowing that what they are experiencing related to eating and feeding (that feels far from what was ‘normal’ in their family) is, in fact, common. Further, readers will recognize that these experiences often leave one feeling frustrated, challenged, or upset. My intent is to aid in understanding ‘what the heck is going on’ to minimize distress for individuals and families.

Who am I?

I have been registered as a dietitian for near four decades. My most recent position has been as a professor working with students aspiring to become registered dietitians or to work in the food and nutrition industries. Previously, I had worked 20+ years as a dietitian with individuals and families experiencing serious illness, and 10 years as a consultant developing and evaluating publicly funded nutrition services.

My research is how the experiences of eating and feeding change for individuals and in families when someone is sick. My motivation to undertake doctoral research on this topic was twofold: I could not find any writing on this topic, and I wanted to become better in my work as a nutrition counsellor. My supervisor, Dr. Aldred Neufeldt, advised me, “If it hasn’t been written about, you’ll have to start writing about it”. “Gulp”. So that’s what I have been doing, writing for dietitians and other health professionals, and incorporating my research findings into courses and seminars to facilitate learning for dietitians and students. Now, my intent with this blog is to share what I have learned with the goal of providing information and support to people living with illness, their caregivers, and those who support caregivers.