A common complaint among elderly people is the progressive loss of appetite. With advancing age, the sense of taste and smell declines. With this decline in the sense of smell and taste comes the loss of appetite.
While loss of appetite is a normal part of the natural ageing process, severe loss of appetite can turn out to be a serious problem. When elderly people lose the desire to eat food it can result in malnutrition. Extreme loss of appetite among aged people can also be indicative of some serious underlying health condition.
Ways to Stimulate Appetite in the Elderly
It is the caregiver’s duty to find ways and means to stimulate appetite in an elderly person. Extreme loss of appetite in elderly people should never be ignored. If an elderly person shows disinterest in eating food over a period of time, it may be that the aged person is suffering from some serious health condition like cancer or Parkinson’s disease. Grief, anxiety, sadness and depression are the other factors which can cause loss of appetite in elderly people. Through this article we will examine some innovative techniques to improve appetite in elderly people.
Delve Into the Actual Cause of Appetite
It is the caregiver’s duty to investigate the actual reason for the loss of appetite in an elderly person. Loss of appetite can be caused by some underlying health complications or it may be because the elderly person is suffering from some emotional turmoil. If health problems are ruled out, then it is up to the caregiver to find out the factor or factors which is causing the elderly person much distress- which consequently causes the loss of appetite. Once the aged person is able to overcome the negative emotions which are causing him or her emotional anguish, then that individual’s appetite levels will return to normal with renewed zest
Offer Favorite Foods
Older people should be allowed to eat their favorite foods at mealtimes.
It has been noted that people tend to eat better when they are served their favorite food items at mealtimes.
Serve Small Meals
Like very young children, the elderly also tend to lose their appetite if they have the habit of snacking between meals. Get elderly people to eat small, well balanced meals at regular intervals instead of eating food as and when they want to. Sticking to a schedule and serving smaller portions can help to stimulate appetite in elderly individuals.
Avoid Excessive Fluid Consumption at Mealtimes
Drinking too much water or other liquids at mealtimes can kill appetite. Ideally, an aged person should be given liquids approximately thirty minutes before or after mealtimes. Restrict the amount of fluids an elderly person has with his or her meals. When fluid intake during mealtimes is controlled, it can help to bring back appetite levels.
Serve Flavorful Food
It is important to serve tasty foods to elderly people instead of serving them bland and unappetizing food. Enhance the flavor of foods by using sauces, herbs, marinades and a variety of spices. Different textured foods can also be served to elderly people to bring back their lost appetite and improve their general food intake.