Appetite loss isn’t a normal part of the aging process, and caregivers who notice this issue need to address it immediately. When left untreated, appetite loss can increase a senior’s risk of various health conditions ranging from osteoporosis to insomnia. Here is a quick look at five strategies you can use to enhance your senior loved one’s eating habits.
1. Rule Out Major Medical Conditions
The first thing you need to do is make sure your loved one hasn’t developed any serious health issues. As soon as your loved one starts to lose weight or you notice changes to his or her eating habits, schedule an appointment with a doctor for a comprehensive checkup. The doctor will most likely test for issues such as ulcers, infections, and chronic fatigue syndrome. In addition to scheduling an appointment with the primary doctor, you might also want to contact the dentist to have your loved one screened for gum disease, tooth decay, and other oral health complications that make it difficult to eat.
Make sure your loved one eats healthy foods each day by hiring a professional caregiver to cook nutritious meals. In Palm Harbor, elderly home care providers can benefit aging adults in a variety of ways. From cooking nutritious meals to offering timely medication reminders, the dedicated caregivers at Home Care Assistance are available to help your elderly loved one 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
2. Check Medications
Several medications can produce side effects, which is why you need to take a second look at any drugs your loved one is currently taking. If you find any medications that could be impacting his or her appetite, speak with the doctor or a pharmacist about alternatives. Depending on what type of drugs your loved one is taking, making a few changes to his or her daily routine might help as well. Taking certain medications at night or just before a large meal may minimize some of the side effects.
3. Eat Together
Turning every meal into a pleasant experience may encourage your loved one to eat more than he or she usually would. Some older adults avoid eating simply because they don’t enjoy dining alone or in front of the television. Setting the table, putting on soft music, and engaging in light conversation increases the amount of time your loved one spends in front of his or her food. He or she may end up eating a few extra bites at every meal, and those calories will add up over time.
If your loved one needs encouragement to eat healthier foods or focus on other lifestyle factors, consider hiring a professional caregiver. There are a variety of ways your senior loved one can benefit from having a caregiver. Professional in-home caregivers from Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of home care Palm Harbor families can rely on, are trained to assist with meal prep, mobility and exercise, personal hygiene tasks like bathing and grooming, medication reminders, and much more.
4. Provide More Choices
Appetite loss can quickly result in unwanted weight loss, and giving your loved one more control over his or her diet might be a good temporary solution. Even if his or her favorite foods are relatively unhealthy, make sure your loved one is getting enough calories to carry out everyday functions. As time goes on, you can experiment with healthier alternatives that resemble his or her preferred dishes.
5. Stick to Nutrient-Rich Foods
Trying to consume larger meals is difficult for older adults who simply have no interest in eating. If this sounds like your loved one’s situation, switch over to nutrient-rich superfoods that can be eaten quickly and are easy to digest. Potatoes, breads, and other high-calorie foods are filling, but many have relatively few vitamins and minerals. Smaller salads, trail mix, vegetable soup, and fruit smoothies are all excellent options for picky eaters who have difficulty finishing large plates of food.
Making sure your loved one follows a nutritious diet can prevent several diseases. If your aging loved one is managing a serious illness and needs help accomplishing everyday tasks, he or she can benefit from 24-hour care. Palm Harbor seniors who need around-the-clock assistance can rely on professional live-in caregivers to prepare nutritious meals and snacks, assist with personal hygiene tasks like bathing and grooming, and provide timely medication reminders. To learn about our revolutionary in-home care plans, give Home Care Assistance a call at (727) 330-7862 today.