It is common that there is a loss of appetite as people grow older. After all, most elderly will have energy levels that are lower, thereby moving less and needing less calories in their diet than an active younger individual. However, if you are starting to notice that they are refusing to eat during meals or having excessive weight loss, it may be time to intervene to help regain the appetite in the elderly.
What Causes Loss of Appetite?
It can be very stressful when someone you care about isn’t eating. It is important to note that there are many different reasons for appetite loss in your older loved ones. One common reason is that the common physiological changes that come with age normally lead to a change in sense of taste, vision, and smell. This can mean that they may not be able to sense different flavors as well, making food less palatable.
However, loss in appetite can also be attributed to more serious health conditions. For example:
- Chronic liver disease or hepatitis
- Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia
- Thyroid disorders
- Kidney failure
- Cancer, especially lung, stomach, pancreatic, and ovarian disease.
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Due to this possibility, it is important to contact your doctor or primary healthcare provider if you or your loved one is experiencing severe weight loss. This is especially so if their appetite has changed massively from before.
Ways to Increase Nutritional Intake
Increasing your or your loved one’s nutritional intake can take many different forms. Firstly, it might be a good idea to eat together more often if they normally eat alone. This is because older adults who eat with other people generally eat more and are healthier.
Next, it is important to note that your tastes change over time. This means that you might have to adapt the flavors that are normally incorporated in meals. Another option is to make meals that are bright and colorful to be more visually appealing.
Setting a schedule for mealtimes and snacks may also help to make eating a more regulated routine. This can help to condition the body to feel hungry at certain times or remind you or your loved one to eat.
Lastly, it can also be an option to consider alternative forms of nutrition like liquid meals, milk, or other forms of substitutes. While this may not be the most enjoyable method to obtaining the nutrition that is needed, it can help in nutritional intake.
Enjoy Delicious Meals at Conservatory At Alden Bridge
Here at Conservatory At Alden Bridge, we understand that it can be hard to prepare delicious menu options for every meal to stimulate the appetite. This is why we established our Sensations Dining program where our experienced chef and professional food service team creates restaurant-style dining for all the residents in our senior living community. You can be sure that there will be enjoyable options from starters to your desserts, every day.
To find out more about our dining program or housing options, contact us today.