Many family caregivers may notice that their senior loved one appears to be losing weight or eating less as they age. Loss of appetite can be common in seniors, but it can also become a major issue. It is important to make sure that your loved one is getting all of the vitamins, nutrients, and calories they need to stay healthy.
Common Causes of Appetite Loss in Seniors
There are a number of factors that can contribute to a loss of appetite in seniors. Some may affect feelings of hunger, while others make it more difficult to access food.
Your loved one’s medications could be affecting their appetite. Check the side effects of your loved one’s medications, and talk to their doctor if you have more concerns.
Dentures or decaying teeth can deter your loved one from eating. Poor dental care can make eating certain foods uncomfortable or difficult. This can deter your loved one from eating. A visit to the dentist can help improve dental comfort.
Deteriorating dexterity, mobility, vision, and cognitive function can create problems with your loved one’s ability to cook. This can make it harder for them to make themselves a proper meal.
Illness and Appetite Loss
If your loved one is sick, they might not feel hungry. When this persists for several days, it can become a serious problem. If needed, seek out medical care for your loved one if an illness persists.
Depression can affect appetite. Sadness and loneliness can cause your loved one to lose energy. They might not feel motivated to eat anything because of their depression. Improving your loved one’s overall mental health and mood can help with this.
Encouraging Eating and Boosting Appetite
There are a number of ways that you can try to help boost your loved one’s appetite. Understanding how to create healthy meals can make it easier for your loved one to get the most out of their food when they do eat.
Use Herbs and Spices
Flavor can go a long way in improving appetite. As you age, your taste receptors can dull. Enhancing food with herbs and spices can help encourage eating. Just try limiting the use of salt.
Sticking to a meal schedule can help keep your loved one eating regularly. Develop a habit of having meals at the same time each day to encourage them to eat.
Cooking Nutrient-Dense Foods
Because their appetite has diminished, it is important to pack more nutrition into each meal. Focus on creating meals with healthy, nutrient-rich ingredients. Even if they only eat a little, they are still getting more out of it.
While your loved one might not be able to cook for themselves, they could assist you in the kitchen. Generally, having your loved one assist you in the kitchen can help encourage them to eat. Even doing this once in a while can be fun for them.
Help at Home
Hiring a home health aide to look after your elderly loved one can be a good way to improve their overall health, and encourage eating. Our home health aides can assist your aging parent in grocery shopping, meal preparation, and more.
Safe Harbor Healthcare Services does not provide medical, healthcare, or financial advice via articles. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for medical advice.
Safe Harbor Healthcare Services has been providing excellent home care on Staten Island since 1967. Our services help the elderly and disabled live safely and independently; while giving their families the peace of mind they need. For more information contact us by clicking here, or call (718)-979-6900.