Not eating as much can be a great thing if you’re on a diet, but loss of appetite is a completely different story, especially for seniors.
Seniors require an enhanced diet, rich with vitamins and minerals. This helps keep their bodies in a healthy state, along with exercise. However, when a senior loses their appetite, this can lead to some scary consequences. It’s not as uncommon as one might think. In fact, between 15-30% of all seniors will experience it.
What Causes Loss of Appetite?
One of the biggest causes of loss of appetite is depression. Depression can manifest into physical things, like tiredness, changes in blood pressure, and loss of appetite, for example. Another cause that is quite common with seniors is a change in medication. Some medications will inhibit hunger. However, these will typically subside after the body gets used to the medication. If not, seeking a medical professional’s opinion is highly recommended.
Another cause of loss of appetite could be something as simple as a change in tastes, or a lack of desire to cook. Both of these can be easily remedied. For the former, simply ask the person what it is that they would like to eat. If a response is given, prepare that for them, and maybe a changed diet that reflects their new tastes. For the latter, cook for them, or pre-prepare meals that can be easily warmed up in the microwave. This, of course, will take some time setting up, but it will be worth it to ensure that the person is getting the proper nutrition that they require.
Some lesser known things that may cause a loss of appetite can also include: lessened physical activity, dental problems, changes to smell and taste receptors, and gastrointestinal problems. In some illnesses, like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, various forms of cancer, and more, loss of appetite can be a side effect. It’s best to speak with a doctor the moment loss of appetite extends for more than a 24-hour period.
Ways to Refresh Appetite
A great way to stimulate and refresh one’s appetite is by encouraging eating in a social setting. Sometimes, eating alone can reduce appetite, while eating with other people can increase appetite.
Increasing the quality of the food, instead of the portion size of the food is also a great way to ensure proper nutrition. For example, instead of giving a lot of food on a plate, provide a nutrient-dense option to the one with loss of appetite. Things like peanut butter, avocado, or a salad made with dark, leafy greens.
This one is a little strange: change the color of the dishes to yellow or red. Why? Studies have shown that the colors yellow and red stimulate appetite more than any other color. This is one reason why a lot of fast food restaurants have yellow or red in their color scheme. Contrasting the color of the food, respective to the color of the dish it’s being served on may help more than one might imagine.
Making smoothies is also a beneficial way to get food into those with limited appetites. Blend up some really healthy, leafy greens, mixed with fruits, and maybe protein powder. This will give the person a great nutritional boost while being a lot easier to consume, especially if the reason for loss of appetite is because of dental issues.
If all else fails, talk with a doctor about an appetite stimulant. These types of prescriptions are generally used as a last resort, but can be extremely beneficial if all other options have been exhausted.
The important thing to do when you discover loss of appetite is to get to the underlying cause. Creating more stress is certainly the opposite thing that one should do. Once the root has been discovered, try remedying it and see if it changes. Always talk with a medical professional to make sure there’s not a serious, underlying problem.
Bonaventure Senior Living
At Bonaventure Senior Living, we have Retirement Perfected, Living Perfected, Dining Perfected, and Fitness Perfected. The best way to see for yourself is to Book-A-Tour today and discover how you can live life on your own terms. We specialize in Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Memory Care, that way, no matter what your current situation is, we have all levels of care covered if your needs ever change.
With Independent Living, we want you to enjoy Simplified Living, allowing you to have the freedom to do what makes you happy. Our Independent Living is designed to accommodate the exceptional senior lifestyle that you’ve earned. What’s even better, is that with Independent Living we offer whatever supportive services that you may need at any time you may need them. Now that’s Retirement Perfected.
Assisted Living at Bonaventure Senior Living is simple: all the lifestyle benefits of our Independent Living, but with any extra support that you may need. Our philosophy is based on three simple things: choice, independence, and dignity. Now that’s Assisted Living at its finest.
Every senior is a unique person, and our Memory Care approach is no different. We tailor our Memory Care by connecting with family members and taking time to understand each person’s specific circumstances. This includes mental, emotional, and physical health. Our Memory Care creates an honorable and professional plan to make sure that each person lives their life to the fullest. That’s the way Memory Care should be.