In Home Senior Care in Miami

Loss of Appetite in the Elderly: Tips to Boost Health Through Nutrition

Posted by Team Decographic in caregiving tips, Senior Health | 0 comments

As a caregiver, one of the most important aspects of elderly care is ensuring they have proper nutrition. Good nutrition is vital to maintain their health and well-being. Unfortunately, loss of appetite is a common issue that caregivers face. Thankfully, there are things that you can do to help combat this frustrating issue, such as meal plans. For more information on meal planning for seniors and elderly care, contact Advancare. 

 

What Causes Loss of Appetite in the Elderly

While it is not uncommon for appetites to change and decrease as one ages, there are several different types of conditions that can cause loss of appetite.

Conditions That Cause Loss of Appetite in the Elderly

There is an abundance of conditions and diseases that can cause loss of appetite in the elderly. The most common causes are:

  • Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Kidney failure
  • Cancer
  • Gum disease
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Throat and mouth infections

Because of the vast array of issues that cause decreased appetite, it is important the elderly patient sees a doctor when the loss of appetite first occurs. The geo: Miami-Dade doctor can rule out any potentially life-threatening issues that could cause the loss of appetite. 

 

How to Combat Loss of Appetite

While it can be discouraging when your elderly loved one starts to experience loss of appetite, it doesn’t have to reduce the quality of their life. There are several tips and tricks that you can implement to ensure they are receiving proper nutrition even with a decreased appetite. 

  • Set a regular schedule. Having a regular schedule for all meals and snacks helps to regulate their body to eat at those predetermined times. This is especially important for those whose body cannot feel hunger.
  • Provide smaller portions filled with an abundance of food. Seeing a lot of food on their plate can overwhelm some elderly patients. Instead, try switching to smaller portions (such as 5 smaller meals instead of 3 larger ones). Just make sure to have nutritious foods with an increase in healthy calories.
  • Serve foods they can eat with their hands. Many elderly patients have difficulty using utensils, which can lead to frustration and cause them to not want to eat. Offering “finger foods”, such as fish sticks, chicken nuggets, chicken strips, and raw vegetables, can make their meal experience less stressful.
  • Make smoothies and milkshakes. For patients that have difficulty chewing, smoothies and milkshakes could be a game changer. Healthy smoothies filled with spinach, fresh fruit and vegetables, and yogurt, are a good option, as are soups enhanced with pureed meat. Avoid this suggestion for patients who have difficulty swallowing.
  • Healthy and easy-to-consume snacks. Some elderly patients prefer to graze throughout the day instead of sitting down for bigger meals. Having healthy and easy-to-consume snacks lets them eat when they are hungry. Some options include string cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, diced fresh fruit and vegetables, and crackers with cheese or peanut butter.
  • Keep a food log. Making notes of what foods they eat and what foods they avoid will help you find the right tricks to keep their nutrition up even when it seems like their appetite is decreasing.

 

Getting Help from Professionals

If you’re feeling overwhelmed trying to combat loss of appetite in your elderly loved one, we are here to help. Our Miami-Dade caregivers provide meal planning and preparation to help lessen the burden on you while providing high quality and nutritious foods for the patient. For more information about the elderly care services we offer, reach out to Advancare today. 

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