As people age, they tend to eat less than they did when they were younger. A senior with a poor appetite may simply be experiencing a normal part of aging, or it may be a sign of a more dangerous situation, ranging from poorly-fitting dentures to disease. If you notice your elderly loved one is eating less than he or she used to, it may be time to step in and encourage healthy eating habits. While you can’t force your loved one to eat, there are some tips and tricks you can try to boost his or her appetite.
1. Get to the Root of the Issue
While having less of an appetite is normal for older adults, a sudden change in appetite could be a sign something is wrong mentally or physically. Your loved one may be depressed, or he or she may be on a new medication that causes appetite-related side effects. Numerous diseases can affect the digestive system, which can lead to poor appetite. It may even be something as simple and easy to fix as a loose or broken tooth or dentures causing pain in the mouth. The best thing to do is see a doctor as soon as the issue arises.
Seniors with serious health conditions often need help preparing nutritious meals. If your aging loved one needs help managing everyday tasks or encouragement to adopt healthier lifestyle choices, turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of elderly home care. Home Care Assistance provides professional in-home caregivers around the clock to help seniors live longer, happier, and healthier lives.
2. Turn Meals into a Social Affair
Spending too much time alone may leave an older adult feeling depressed and isolated. Helping your loved one find ways to be social, particularly at mealtimes, can prevent isolation. Invite your loved one to go out to eat with you and your family, and have other friends and relatives do the same. Encourage your loved one to attend church picnics, have meals at the local senior center, or invite old friends over for lunch.
For families living in Kingwood, respite care can be a wonderful solution when their aging loved ones need companionship and socialization a few hours a week or just need minor assistance with daily household tasks. At Home Care Assistance, we thrive on helping seniors maintain their independence while living in the comfort of home.
3. Try New Foods
Anyone can get bored eating the same thing all the time. Seniors who live alone may feel it’s a waste of time to experiment in the kitchen, so consider cooking or ordering something new for your loved one to try. In some cases, tastes simply change with age, so trying new spices and seasonings can boost appetite.
4. Make Sure Food Is Always Available
While medical conditions may cause your loved one to stop eating, other issues like convenience or lack of income may also be the culprit. Make sure your loved one always has access to some of his or her favorite snacks and meals, especially items that don’t require too much effort to cook or prepare. If you live nearby and cook for your own family, consider bringing something extra over for your loved one when you visit. You can also take your loved one shopping so you can find foods he or she enjoys.
5. Sneak in Extra Calories & Nutrients
If your loved one doesn’t eat appropriate portions, consider adding some healthy fats like oils and nut butters to your parent’s meals to ensure he or she gets enough calories and healthy nutrients. Encourage your loved one to drink juices and protein shakes at snack time.
Switching to nutritious meals is just one of the many ways seniors can boost their health and stave off a wide variety of diseases. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional homecare services. Kingwood, TX, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life. To hire a professionally trained caregiver for your loved one, call us at 832-412-1345 today.