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Dealing with Loss of Appetite in the Elderly

When your loved develops a loss of appetite and doesn’t want to eat, whether at home or in an independent living facility, it could be a warning sign of something else. It is common, however, for appetites to change as a person ages but different factors could contribute to it. There could be a lack of interest or energy to cook or even a lack of interest in the taste of food because of a change in taste buds, being lonely or being depressed. Sometimes, too, health conditions can contribute to a loss of appetite or it could be a side effect of a medication being taken.

In addition, the problem could be a medical one and you may want to talk to your loved one’s doctor. Some illnesses which cause loss of appetite are: Thyroid disorders, Cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, salivary gland problems or a mouth, gum or throat infection. If the doctor gives your senior a clean bill of health, then the problem lies elsewhere.

To get your senior to eat, there are some things you can do, even if he or she lives in an independent living facility. Below are some suggestions which may help to entice the person to eat:

  • Make sure the person eats at the same time every day. This help an older person’s body to expect food. As a person ages, the feelings of hunger decline also, so even if your senior is hungry, it may not be realized.
  • Make the portions smaller but with a higher nutrient of food. Sometimes a large amount of food on a plate can seem to be overwhelming. You could even have meals changed so there are 5 smaller meals instead of 3 large ones.
  • Be sure to have easy to eat snacks on hand. This could be string cheese, diced fruit, peanut butter and crackers and other snack items like this.

Having your loved one lose their appetite can be worrisome. But if isn’t a health issue, then these suggestions may help.

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