As people age, they tend to eat less than they did when they were younger. A senior with a poor appetite may simply be experiencing a normal part of aging, or it may be a sign of a more dangerous situation, ranging from poorly-fitting dentures to disease. If you notice your elderly loved one is eating less than he or she used to, it may be time to step in and encourage healthy eating habits. While you can’t force your loved one to eat, there are some tips and tricks you can try to boost his or her appetite.
1. Get to the Root of the Issue
While having less of an appetite is normal for older adults, a sudden change in appetite could be a sign something is wrong mentally or physically. Your loved one may be depressed, or he or she may be on a new medication that causes appetite-related side effects. Numerous diseases can affect the digestive system, which can lead to a poor appetite. It may even be something as simple and easy to fix as a loose or broken tooth or dentures causing pain in the mouth. The best thing to do is see a doctor as soon as the issue arises.
Seniors with serious health conditions often need help preparing nutritious meals. Performing daily tasks while simultaneously managing the symptoms of a serious illness can be challenging for seniors who require extensive 24-hour care. North Broward Home Care Assistance provides trusted caregivers 24/7 to ensure your loved one has the care he or she needs to remain safe and comfortable while aging in place.
2. Turn Meals into a Social Affair
Spending too much time alone may leave an older adult feeling depressed and isolated. Helping your loved one find ways to be social, particularly at meal time, can prevent isolation. Invite your loved one to go out to eat with you and your family, and have other friends and relatives do the same. Encourage your loved one to attend church picnics, have meals at the local senior center, or invite old friends over for lunch.
3. Try New Foods
Anyone can get bored eating the same thing all the time. Seniors who live alone may feel it’s a waste of time to experiment in the kitchen, so consider cooking or ordering something new for your loved one to try. In some cases, tastes simply change with age, so trying new spices and seasonings can boost appetite.
Family caregivers do not always have the time or ability to meet their senior loved ones’ nutritional needs. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. North Broward, Florida, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.
4. Make Sure Food Is Always Available
While medical conditions may cause your loved one to stop eating, other issues like convenience or lack of income may also be the culprit. Make sure your loved one always has access to some of his or her favorite snacks and meals, especially items that don’t require too much effort to cook or prepare. If you live nearby and cook for your own family, consider bringing something extra over for your loved one when you visit. You can also take your loved one shopping so you can find foods he or she enjoys.
5. Sneak in Extra Calories and Nutrients
If your loved one doesn’t eat appropriate portions, consider adding some healthy fats like oils and nut butters to the meals to ensure he or she gets enough calories and healthy nutrients. Encourage your loved one to drink juices and protein shakes at snack time.
Switching to nutritious meals is just one of the many ways seniors can boost their health and stave off a wide variety of diseases. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional elder care. North Broward, Florida, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life. To create a customized in-home care plan for your elderly loved one, give us a call at 954-906-5161 today.