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Appetite loss in the senior years is often due to normal aging. However, you must make sure your loved one’s dwindling interest in meals does not affect his or her health. Use the following tips to handle appetite loss so your loved one continues to get the nutrients he or she needs to stay healthy.
Schedule a Physical Exam
If your loved one’s lack of appetite came on suddenly, it’s worth scheduling a checkup to find out if there is a physical cause. For instance, your loved one may be experiencing pain from dentures, or he or she could have a gastrointestinal disorder that causes him or her to feel fuller.
If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of elderly care Albuquerque, NM, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
Watch for Signs of Malnutrition
Seniors with smaller appetites typically feel comfortable with their new eating habits. Although they may not feel their stomach growling, the body still needs proper nutrition to function. Watch out for signs of malnutrition such as fatigue, easy bruising, confusion, or unexplained mouth sores. These types of symptoms are signs you may need to take further action to help your loved one stop the lack of appetite from affecting his or her health.
Make Meals More Enticing
People often associate eating with the sense of taste. However, you can stimulate your loved one’s appetite by making food that appeals to multiple senses. For example, your loved one may get excited about eating a colorful stew that also provides a sense of warmth on a cold day. Alternatively, your loved one may enjoy the sensation of a crisp salad seasoned with fresh herbs from the garden. Explore different recipes to keep things interesting so your loved one will be more likely to want to eat.
Family caregivers do not always have the time or ability to meet their senior loved ones’ nutritional needs. If you are the primary caregiver for a senior loved one in Albuquerque, respite care is available when you need time away from your important caregiving duties. At Home Care Assistance, our respite caregivers are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help your loved one manage everyday tasks in the comfort of home while you have the chance to take a much-needed break.
Maximize Smaller Portions
When your loved one does not feel like eating much, you have to make every meal count. Nutrient and calorie-rich foods allow your loved one to get more out of smaller portions. For example, a spoonful of peanut butter spread on half a piece of whole-wheat toast gives your loved one protein, fiber, and iron along with the calories needed to keep energy up.
Address Emotional Concerns
Emotional upsets can change how much seniors eat. Seniors who are depressed, grieving, or experiencing anxiety may opt to skip meals if no one encourages them to sit down and eat. Keep an eye out for signs your loved one is going through an emotionally trying time or is just lonely. Arrange for someone to eat with your loved one several times a week. In addition to providing emotional support, this type of arrangement may help your loved one reestablish a routine for regular mealtimes.
If your loved one is not getting the nutrients he or she needs for a healthy lifestyle, consider hiring a caregiver. In Albuquerque, home care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy. For reliable in-home care services, contact us at 505-798-0800.