Lack of appetite in the elderly. How to deal with it?

Lack of appetite in the elderly. How to deal with it?

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A senior’s lack of appetite is a natural occurrence that can have dangerous health consequences. How can a senior be encouraged to eat?

Reasons for lack of appetite in seniors

Lack of appetite in a senior is a very complex problem that can be triggered by various factors. The main reason for reluctance to eat in seniors is a slowed metabolism, which causes a lack of appetite. This can be caused by:

  • chronic disease such as gastrointestinal disorder, cancer, dementia, kidney disease. Medications taken for various medical conditions can also cause diarrhea, constipation that prevents eating balanced meals;
  • taste and smell problems – it is very common for seniors to have a poor sense of smell and taste; what used to taste good is no longer so good
  • oral problems – missing teeth or ill-fitting dentures can also lead to eating disorders;
  • lack of physical activity – physical activity stimulates the appetite. People who don’t even go for walks suffer from loss of appetite;
  • too much processed food in the diet – sweets and processed foods disturb the appetite and lead to digestive problems e.g. heartburn, bloating.
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Consequences of senior’s lack of appetite

Lack of appetite in a senior citizen can lead to weakening of their body and lack of proper functioning. Lack of adequate iron in the diet can cause anemia, and lack of magnesium and B vitamins can lead to problems with the nervous system.

Malnutrition causes general weakness in the body and increased susceptibility to various infections.

How to encourage seniors to eat?

Unfortunately, there is no single effective method to encourage seniors to eat. At first, it’s worth finding the reason why the senior doesn’t want to eat. Once the cause is found, take appropriate steps to eliminate it. For example: if the lack of appetite is caused by medications, it is worth asking the doctor to change them.

If the reason is bad eating habits, it is worth changing them. In this situation, introduce smaller portions of meals, but more often and at fixed times. The meals should be visually appealing, so that they encourage people to eat them. In the menu of a senior fatty dishes and processed products should be replaced with fresh vegetables and fruits. Water should be served with every meal.

To help your senior’s appetite, consider appetite-enhancing herbs: cilantro, dill, basil, thyme, marjoram and savory. These spices can be added to almost any dish. Using them is very safe for an elderly person’s health.

Adequate hydration increases appetite, so be sure to watch your senior to hydrate their body. Water with the addition of peppermint will work best for this. It is also worth convincing a senior to drink infusions of mint, dill and aniseed.

>> See also: Tests after 50 years of age. Check which ones should be done?

Many people lack of appetite is helped by company during meals. Therefore, a great way is to eat together with the senior. When eating together you should not rush the elderly person. It is a good idea to adjust your pace of eating to their pace.

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