Loss of Appetite

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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.

3. Medications
Some medications can cause food to taste unpleasant and reduce flavour

4.  Constipation
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.

8.  Monotony/Boredom
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.

10.Denture issues

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.

OakHouse foods offer a good range of attractive looking pureed meals and drinks such as Fortisip and Complan are both top-up drinks available on prescription.




Award-winning blogger and former care columnist for Devon Life magazine. I am passionate about helping elderly people and people with dementia live purposeful and independent lives.
Designer of the Dementia Assistance Card and Points Of Light award recipient, Caron hopes to help carers when resources are limited and demand is ever-increasing. I am here to support you.

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