Dealing with Loss of Appetite in an Aging Parent
We all know how important our diet is to our overall health, so it can be incredibly disconcerting to see a loved one start to lose their appetite in older age.
While this could be a potential warning sign of a more serious underlying health problem, it’s more than likely that it’s just a natural part of the aging process. The lining of our stomachs tends to lose its elasticity as we get older, resulting in it being unable to stretch and contain as much food as it once did. There’s also our taste buds to consider, which reduce by more than a third, once we reach the age of 60. A lack of taste can often turn nutritious meals into something bland and unappetizing.
Making mealtimes something a senior looks forward to isn’t an easy fix, but there a number of steps you can take to try to sway your loved one into eating more. Mitchell Balaban, owner of the in-home care provider, Always Best Care, helps encourage seniors to eat more on a daily basis. Balaban has been kind enough to share three of the ways he makes sure seniors in home care in Jenkintown eat enough to live a healthy lifestyle.
There is always a danger that living alone can lead to isolation and depression. Naturally, this has an effect on a senior’s desire to prepare or cook food and, in general, to look after himself or herself.
One of the best ways to counter these feelings is by making sure a senior remains socially active, in particular, at meal times. Whether it be inviting a friend to their house for dinner or going to a local restaurant with family, being around other people will not only help lift their spirits but also encourage them to eat more.
As seniors spend a lot of their time at home, it’s quite common for them to raid the kitchen cupboards throughout the day for a sugary snack. Unfortunately, this often results in a senior being full when it matters most.
To try to counter this, stick to a strict eating schedule. If a senior is eating too many snacks, it starts to affect their overall diet, so try limiting them to a set number each day. By eating at consistent hours every day, a senior’s body will learn when to send out hunger signals that will help them to build up an appetite.
Getting as many nutrient-rich foods into a senior’s diet is essential, particularly if they have started to eat less. Any item containing protein, potassium, fiber, vitamins, and other nutrients should play a large role in their diet.
Remember, if your loved one struggles to eat food in solid form, a blender is a fantastic alternative. You can mix fruit and vegetables, turning something that may not have been appetizing into an easily drinkable snack.