It’s not uncommon for seniors to lose their appetites periodically. While a temporary loss in appetite may not lead to health consequences, long-term or permanent decreases in appetite can result in severe nutritional deficiencies. Fortunately, there are things your aging loved one can do to boost his or her appetite.
1. Dine with Others
Seniors sometimes feel lonely and isolated, which can trigger depression and anxiety and cause a significant decrease in appetite. However, if your loved one has company to share meals with, his or her appetite may increase. If your loved one doesn’t have friends or family to dine with, take him or her to a restaurant or senior center so meals can be enjoyed with others.
In additon to preparing healthy meals for your loved one, a professional caregiver can provide companionship and social stimulation. Many older adults are choosing to age in place, and some need a helping hand to continue living at home safely and comfortably. Luckily, there is professional home care seniors can trust and rely on.
2. Take a Walk
If your loved one lives a sedentary lifestyle, his or her appetite may be poor. A decrease in appetite is often the result of lower caloric needs, or it may be because a lack of exercise can lead to emotional health issues, such as depression. Encourage your loved one to take walks outdoors to increase his or her appetite and enhance sleep quality, reduce joint pain, decrease systemic inflammation, and promote the production of vitamin D through sun exposure.
3. Try New Recipes
Tastes often change with age, and foods seniors once enjoyed may now seem bland or flavorless. Aging adults may also become bored with the same old foods they’re used to eating. Trying new recipes and flavors may boost the appetite, stimulate the taste buds, and restore enthusiasm about eating once again.
If family or work responsibilities make it challenging to prepare and serve varied meals for your loved one every day, consider adding a professional caregiver to your caregiving team. There are a variety of reasons family caregivers should consider respite care. Sonoma County, California, families often have additional responsibilities that make it more challenging to provide the care their senior loved ones need and deserve. A professional respite caregiver can take over your important caregiving duties, allowing you more time to focus on yourself.
4. Review Medications
If your loved one takes non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, to manage chronic pain or inflammation, he or she may have a poor appetite. These medications can cause stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and epigastric pain. While these symptoms are typically associated with higher dosages, even low doses can cause a decrease in appetite. If your loved one is experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms or a low appetite as a result of NSAID use, make an appointment with his or her physician to review the side effects of the NSAIDs and possibly discontinue their use. Once the medication has been stopped, your loved one’s appetite may increase.
5. Limit Coffee Intake
Coffee is very acidic and can cause severe stomach pain and abdominal cramps, which can lead to a diminished appetite. Because coffee can interfere with nutrient absorption, it may also lead to nutritional deficits. While caffeine may be the main offender, even decaffeinated coffee can cause gastric distress and a low appetite. Limiting your loved one’s intake of coffee may reverse stomach issues associated with acidic beverages and increase his or her appetite. Drinking too much coffee can also result in frequent urination, which may cause dehydration, another risk factor in the development of a decreased appetite.
If your loved one’s appetite is decreasing, a trained professional caregiver can be a great resource for making sure your loved one gets proper nutrition. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of in-home care. Sonoma County families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. If you need professional home care for your loved one, reach out to one of our Care Managers today at [hca_phoe].