4 Ways to Encourage Elderly to Eat More

By Doris Kasold, 9:00 am on

Since many seniors experience diminished appetite, the elderly often find it difficult to eat enough. If your senior relative has begun finding that he or she cannot finish his or her meals, your loved one may not be eating enough of the essential nutrients he or she needs to stay healthy. At Home Care Assistance of Tampa, our senior care experts suggest trying the following strategies that can help encourage your loved one to eat more. 

1. Use Color Contrast
For many seniors, their vision isn’t what it used to be. This blurry vision paired with a reduced appetite can lead food to appear boring or unappetizing, however research shows that having a variety of colors on the plate can make food seem more appealing for seniors with diminished vision and appetite. For each meal, have several different colors of food on the plate at once for contrast.

2. Vary Spices
Because age and medications can lead to a diminished sense of smell and taste, seniors often have a hard time tasting and enjoying their food. If your elderly relative experiences difficulty detecting flavors, using new or different spices may boost the taste enough for your loved one to enjoy the food. Stronger flavors, like curry, red pepper, and cardamom, should be easier for your loved one to detect.

3. Evaluate Oral Concerns
As seniors age, their teeth and gums may begin to bother them. Likewise, for seniors with dentures, his or her gums may feel uncomfortable because of ill-fitting prosthetics. In either case, oral discomfort may be making chewing difficult, causing your loved one not to eat less. Regularly going to the dentist may help resolve this issue, but if chewing continues to be a problem, having a 24-hour or hourly caregiver in Tampa serve cooked or pureed vegetables and shredded meat can save your loved one some discomfort and encourage him or her to eat more.

4. Consider Constipation
If your elderly loved one has irregular bowel movements as a result of medications or a lack of fiber, liquids, or other nutrients in the diet, he or she may experience discomfort when eating. Speak to your family member’s doctor to see if stool softeners can be used and try to address possible dietary factors by increasing the amount of fiber, water, and fruit juice your loved one consumes.  

If you’re looking for other ways to help boost your loved one’s health and wellness, turn to Home Care Assistance. Our experienced caregivers are professionally trained to assist with tasks that promote senior health, like grocery shopping, preparing healthy meals, and following a regular exercise routine. We also offer a variety of care services for seniors with cognitive and physical challenges, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and stroke care in Tampa. To ask questions about our care services, give a Care Manager a call at 727-330-7862 and schedule a complimentary no-obligation consultation.

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