Under normal circumstances, an elderly person tends to eat less because of the changes that come with growing old — changes in their sense of smell and taste or their reduced need for calories with lessened physical activity. Nonetheless, it’s still a priority for caregivers to encourage their loved ones to eat. After all, food is the source of nutrition.
Here are some ways to address your aging parents’ lack of appetite:
Add nutrients, not servings in the food
Most people tend to add more servings in food, in their hopes to increase their loved one’s food intake. What happens, though, is the opposite. Seniors feel overwhelmed when they see lots of food on their plate. What you want to do is to approach this differently. Rather than increasing the servings, increase the nutrients in the food. For instance, you can add extra healthy calories to your aging parent’s meal with one avocado or a peanut butter sandwich.
Stick to a meal schedule
Often because of mobility issues or the lack of energy to cook food, aging adults tend to skip meals. Skipping meals, however, dismisses hunger and thirst signals in the body. Over time, this changes their appetite. If you want to bring back your loved one’s appetite, bring back a regular meal schedule. This will, in a way, “re-calibrate” hunger signals in his or her body.
Make sure your aging loved one stick to that eating schedule every day. Senior Helpers recommends you get elderly sitter services to grant you the peace of mind that your aging parent eats not just regularly but nutritious
Eat with them
For some elderly people, the reality of eating alone makes them lose their appetite and skip meals. So, if don’t live with your aging mom and dad, make an extra effort to have lunch or dinner at their house. Or, encourage them to go to senior centers or churches where they could socialize while enjoying their food.
But, if your loved one prefers staying at home, then a sitter is your best option. Professional carers or sitters will provide the companionship your loved one needs.
Appetite changes as people age. But it’s also best to check with doctors if there are underlying health problems that cause this change in your aging loved one’s eating habits.