Overcoming Loss of Appetite with Aging
As your loved one gets older, you may notice that they appear to be losing weight or eating less than they used to. This is very common, but can still be concerning. You want to ensure that they are getting all of the calories, vitamins, and nutrients they need to stay healthy.
What Are Some Causes of Loss of Appetite?
There could be many reasons why seniors don’t feel very hungry, or foods they once enjoyed no longer seem as appealing:
- Depression: feelings of sadness, loneliness, or despair can affect appetite. Your loved one may not feel motivated or energized enough to eat.
- Medication: certain medications can contribute to loss of appetite, so check the side effects or talk to their doctor.
- Illness: when people are sick, they often don’t feel like eating or don’t feel hungry. If this goes on for several days or weeks, it can be problematic.
- Dental problems: poor fitting dentures and missing or decaying teeth can make eating difficult or uncomfortable.
- Difficulty cooking: issues with vision, mobility, or dexterity can make cooking meals a challenge.
Ways to Boost Appetite and Encourage Eating
Fortunately, there are a variety of ways that you can help your aging parent to overcome loss of appetite and continue eating a healthy, well-balanced diet.
- Enhance flavor with herbs and spices: Try out different herbs and spices – whether fresh or dried – to boost the flavor of different foods. Go easy on the salt and opt for a dash of lemon juice, some garlic or onion powder, a spring of fresh rosemary, or a sprinkle of thyme. Experiment to see what tastes the best to them.
- Choose nutrient-dense foods: If they are eating less, at least make what they do eat pack a punch. Incorporate foods such as whole grains, lean meats, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Instead of adding extra cheese to pizza, pile on the veggies. Buy brown rice instead of white rice. Add avocado to eggs and whole wheat toast for breakfast. Bake salmon for dinner.
- Stick to a schedule: Get them used to eating at certain times so it becomes habit and part of their daily routine. Their body will also adjust and know when to expect food.
- Make meals together: If you live nearby, make cooking something that you and your loved one do together, even if it’s prepping several meals once a week. Pick out some of their favorite dishes so they have something to look forward to and enjoy eating.
- Get help: An in-home caregiver can be a wonderful asset by assisting your aging parent with meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking, and storing leftovers. They can also periodically go through the refrigerator, freezer, or pantry and throw out anything that has expired. Plus, they can sit with your senior while they eat and provide companionship and conversation. Having someone to talk to can make mealtimes more enjoyable.
If your loved one could benefit from additional support at home, whether for meal prep, light housekeeping, daily tasks, companionship, or much more, Always Best Care of Fox Chapel is here to help. Our trained caregivers provide the level of assistance your senior needs to age in place safely and comfortably. Contact us today at 505 850-8548 to schedule a free consultation.