It’s not uncommon for aging adults to seemingly lose their appetite. If lack of appetite isn’t addressed, seniors become malnourished and lose weight, which leaves them at greater risk for poor health. Family members must determine the underlying cause to effectively manage the problem.
Look for a Physical or Mental Cause
Older adults may have dentures that no longer fit properly and cause discomfort when they attempt to eat. They might also have other oral problems that cause pain when eating very cold or warm foods. Correcting the oral dilemma may solve the appetite issue.
Some medications have side effects that may involve a loss of appetite. By researching the side effects and possible adverse reactions associated with all your loved one’s medications, you may find a clue.
Seniors may develop sensory deficits that include a loss of smell and taste. When preparing meals, consider using more seasonings to bring out the flavor of the food. Seasoning foods often also enhances the aroma, which may entice your loved one to eat.
When seniors experience depression, it’s not unusual for them to refuse food. Discussing the problem with your loved one may remedy the cause for worry. If your loved one is living with chronic depression, he or she may need medication to overcome the illness.
Increase Social Activity
If your loved one lives alone, he or she may experience isolation and loneliness, which in turn has the potential for reducing appetite. Make a point of visiting more frequently in person, talking on the phone, or connecting via video chat. Prepare meals for your loved one, and have family members or friends take part in the occasion. Involve your loved one in social activities, such as visiting a senior center or going to church events.
Having a professional caregiver close by can provide companionship that alleviates your loved one’s feelings of isolation and loneliness. In Clearwater, senior care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy.
Eat Nutrient-Dense Foods
Because seniors aren’t necessarily as active as they were in their younger years, they don’t require the same amount of food. A plate full of food may seem overwhelming. Decrease the size of your loved one’s portions, and prepare meals with foods that are rich in nutrients and calories. Consider using cream, whole milk, yogurt, olive oil, and peanut butter. Offer nutritious snacks between meals.
Create a Routine to Mitigate the Effects of Cognitive Impairment
Seniors with dementia may not remember the last time they ate a meal. They may simply forget to eat. If your loved one lives with you, create a routine for serving meals. Perhaps make a chart displaying when your loved one last ate and what was served. This way, he or she may be more inclined to be ready for the next meal.
If your loved one still lives at home, consider bringing in a trained professional caregiver to plan and prepare nutritious meals served at regular times every day. Certain age-related conditions can make it more challenging for seniors to age in place safely and comfortably, but Clearwater live-in care experts are available around the clock to help seniors manage their health. Whether your loved one is living with dementia or is recovering from a stroke, you can trust the professional live-in caregivers from Home Care Assistance to enhance his or her quality of life.
Go Grocery Shopping Together
Due to the changes in taste and smell your loved one might experience, foods that once were appealing may no longer be enjoyable. Try grocery shopping together, and encourage your loved one to try new foods. There might be foods your loved one has always wanted to try, or perhaps some are more visually appealing than others.
Since loss of appetite in seniors can be due to a number of factors, it’s especially important to understand its cause so you can find a way to make sure your loved one gets proper nutrition. If your aging loved one needs help managing everyday tasks or encouragement to adopt healthier lifestyle choices, turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of elder care. Clearwater Home Care Assistance provides professional in-home caregivers around the clock to help seniors live longer, happier, and healthier lives. If you need professional care for your loved one, reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (727) 330-7862.