Your parent or grandparent isn’t eating as well as they used to? Elderly appetite loss is a common issue among many of our elderly loved ones and a natural part of aging. However, we have to ensure that they are getting the nutrients they need, which is exactly where the challenge lies. Read on to know more about what causes older adults’ loss of appetite and how to improve it.
Elderly appetite loss: Why do our elderly grandparents suffer appetite and weight loss?
There are many reasons that can cause our loved ones to eat less as they grow older. Those are some of them:
- Perceptual changes. Changes in taste and smell impact our loved ones’ appetite as it becomes harder for them to enjoy their favorite meals.
- Decreased need for calories. Older adults need less calories and eat less food because of lowered physical activity and metabolic rates.
- Health conditions. Certain health conditions and medications can lead to a decreased appetite.
- Dementia: An NCBI research states that patients with Alzheimer’s disease may suffer loss of appetite and weight loss
- Lack of energy. Our loved ones can sometimes simply be too tired to cook, which makes them eat less meals.
- Loneliness. Feelings of loneliness whether out of depression or having to eat alone have an impact on our loved ones’ appetites negatively.
How to boost your grandparents’ appetite and avoid their weight loss?
There are several things that we can do to make sure our loved ones are eating the portions they need. Here are a few tips that’ll help out:
- Change plate sizes. Simply serving their food on a larger plate can help you give them larger amounts of food without them noticing. This tricks the brain into thinking that the portion is smaller because it’s served on something larger.
- Serve more drinks. Providing the calories your loved ones need in the form of drinks will make it much easier for them. Serve soups, smoothies, milkshakes, etc. and include all of the good, healthy ingredients in them.
- Surround them with ready-to-eat snacks. Elderly people tend to prefer eating snacks over full meals. Making sure that healthy, nutritious snacks are always available around them can really help you in getting them to eat. Have some sliced fruits around, some crackers and natural peanut butter, dates, dark chocolate, etc.
- Use spices. Make sure that the food you serve your loved ones has strong flavors and seasonings. That’s needed because, with age, taste buds get weaker and tasting food becomes more difficult.
- Keep them company. Take your loved ones out for dinner or visit them with a group of relatives and have a nice meal. Loneliness can be one of the reasons your loved ones aren’t eating well. Having good company while eating can really help boost their appetite.
- Get them to have a say. As our loved ones grow older, they feel like their independence starts to gradually diminish. This can cause them to refuse eating as an attempt to regain control. Make sure you provide them with food options to help reduce that sense of dependence they might be feeling.
It’s a challenging thing to get a parent or grandparent to eat even when they don’t want to. However, don’t take matters personally and keep trying; with time and patience, things will become easier for both of you. Be creative and open to trying different things till you find what works best for your loved one.