Loss of appetite is a completely normal part of the aging process, but it is crucial for the people at that age to receive a sufficient amount of nutrients in order to maintain their energy levels and keep their immune system healthy.
The reasons for loss of appetite in the elderly may be different, but the fact is that it is very common and it is usually a big concern for the children who want to do everything they can to help these days for their parents as pleasant as they can be. This doesn’t necessarily mean that this is a significant health problem. Most of the elderly people have some aging issues and they often consume at least one type of medication. However, if this loss of appetite continues and you notice changes in their mood, this is a clear sign to take some actions.
The problem with nutrition and food refusal may occur due to: lack of interest in food, because of the weakening of the senses of taste, loneliness, depression, inability to prepare meals, general weakness caused by aging or the effects of taking certain medications.
Of course it normal for older people to experience changes in their appetite, but there are many other ways in which these people can take enough nutrients and we are not talking only about standard food. If they are moving less and if they have experienced some kind of trauma (for example loss of a spouse) they will most likely have a diminished desire for food. Things like weakening of the receptors for taste and smell as well as certain problems with the teeth can also contribute to the problem.
How to help the elderly and stimulate their appetite
First of all, you should not increase their portions, you need to focus on the nutritional value of meals. Breakfasts don’t have to be made of solid food. Older people may find a good smoothie (which includes different fruits and vegetables) sufficient. In addition, to drinks, you can introduce a bowl of salad. Another good advice is to be patient. You can “plant” additional calories in the form of olive oil (used in salads), avocado fruit and peanut butter on a cracker.
Try to eat together. Old people need to be surrounded by family members, so try to eat together at the table at the same time and invite some of their friends on dinner. Finally, you can use the help of professional home care agencies which have professional staff that can take care of all problems related to the aging process.