Loss of appetite in someone elderly.
Proper nutrition is vital to the elderly in order to maintain good health, retain and build bone mass and, importantly, to enable medications to work effectively in the body with fewer side effects.
If you are a carer you may notice a loss of appetite in the person you care for which be due to one of the following ten things.
1. Reduction in Senses of Smell and Taste
If the person you care for can’t smell or taste their food there will be an understandable loss of appetite. Try adding more flavourings to the food although not more salt.
2. Poor Eye sight
This not only reduces attraction to the food on the plate but is also a challenge for a person with poor vision to actually feed themselves.
Some medications can cause food to taste unpleasant and reduce flavour
Also a side effect of medication, a person who is constipated will feel full and have little desire for food. Ensure adequate fluids are being consumed and consider a laxative to reduce the episodes of constipation.
5. Dementia and other cognitive conditions.
Very often a lack of appetite is caused by dementia and in many cases people feel the food tastes different.
6. Eating Alone
Food is enjoyed more when shared with another person or a group.
Many Age UK charities host lunch clubs where elderly people can have lunch and share some company.
7. Lack of understanding as to the importance of good nutrition
If the person who you care for can be encouraged to understand the link between good food and good health and the fact their medication will work more effectively, this may help them eat a little more.
Eating alone and eating the same foods becomes boring for all of us and we all love to get out and be fed and have no washing up to do. Try suggesting a meal out once in a while.
9. Unwillingness to Cook
With modern technology such as microwaves, no-one really needs to bother to cook, all supermarkets have ready meals that can be cooked from fresh or frozen and many companies will deliver foods to the door. Oakhouse and Wiltshire Farm Foods are just two.
Poorly fitting dentures can make chewing difficult and this can be helped by soft foods such as soup, yoghurts, puree etc. This needs to be a short term solution as the denture issues needs to be resolved ideally.
If someone you care for has a reduced appetite and is losing weight do also contact their Doctor to rule out any underlying conditions.