While a general loss of appetite is a normal part of getting older for many people, there are things you and your loved one can do to prevent the issue from getting worse.
First, let’s look at some reasons why your senior loved one might be experiencing a decline in their appetite. Some causes include:
- Side effects from medication, such as a dry mouth and dehydration
- Dental problems, including poor-fitting dentures
- Trouble chewing or swallowing
- Slower metabolism
- Being less active
- Taste bud changes
Some seniors may not even notice a drop in appetite because they simply don’t pay attention to hunger queues, or they don’t notice that they have lost weight, or they aren’t aware of mealtimes. Below are some suggestions on how to help you loved one get back on track with a regular, healthy diet:
- Create a routine: Make mealtimes within the same timeframe every day, such as having breakfast sometime between 9 – 10 a.m.
- Focus on quality versus quantity: incorporate fruits and veggies at every meal to ensure that meals are not comprised of ‘empty’ calories. A small handful of strawberries still counts, it doesn’t have to be the whole pint.
- Make mealtime a social experience: arrange for companionship at dinner, even if you can’t make it to your senior’s home. Try arranging a potluck of sorts between them and their neighbors.
- Incorporate easily prepared recipes or ready-made options: a frozen meal is still a meal.
- Try liquid options: Think meal-replacement shakes, fruit smoothies, and soup.
- Involve your loved one in menu planning: It’s human nature to be more invested and interested in something you help create.
Don’t hesitate to experiment and think outside of the norms you grew up with. Pancakes for dinner is never a bad idea. Neither is having last night’s leftovers for breakfast. Grocery stores now offer a wide variety of choices when it comes to ready-made options too. And if getting to the store is part of the issue, services such as Shipt and Instacart will bring the groceries right to you (or your senior’s) door.
Feel free to contact us if you would like more information on improving your family’s diet. We’d be happy to help you.