A recurring issue in chronic care management is the loss of appetite in patients. It is undoubtedly a cause for concern, especially when it becomes frequent. A regular loss of appetite in senior citizens is a health risk that needs immediate attention. Though anyone who loses their appetite needs urgent care, it is even more so for seniors.
Why do older people lose interest in eating?
There are various reasons why the elderly lose interest in eating. First, loss of appetite can appear as a symptom or side effect of medication. On average, seniors past the age of 70 take around five or more prescription medications. This combination of drugs can typically lead to a loss of appetite. Second, mental health issues such as clinical depression or general loneliness and lethargy affect appetite. Also, changes in diet or the diet itself can lead to a reduced appetite.
How can you remedy this situation?
If you have in-home senior care, you can monitor their diet and help them improve their appetite. It is better to improve the nutritional value rather than increase the portion of a meal. For example, a meal consisting of one piece of avocado can offer as many calories as two popcorn bags. However, the latter has more nutrients.
Also, a care provider could use calorie-heavy ingredients like peanut butter or olive oil. Not only can they be used in various recipes and easily accessible, but they are also healthier options that meet the body’s calorie needs. Older patients can also choose to take in calories as liquids, which can be more convenient and easier to prepare.
Shakes or smoothies made from various fruits and other healthy ingredients can help reach calorie quotas while providing hydration. Finally, change up their diet plan so that eating doesn’t feel like a chore. Switch up veggies and meat occasionally, and make sure they carry the same calorie and nutritional value.
What else can you do to support healthy eating?
Explore grocery delivery services, changing their eating schedules to accommodate social calls, setting alarms for meals, and getting them to eat at the same time every day. Different things would work for different people, and it is vital to keep communicating with your senior patient and asking them what they prefer.
You can also put them on an exercise regimen to increase their appetite. A safe fitness plan for the elderly can play a significant role in bringing back their appetite. Lastly, make eating a pleasurable activity. Doing this can improve appetite. Eating while listening to your favorite music, being outside with fresh air, or even socializing with others can be beneficial.
There are various treatments for loss of appetite in the elderly, and they can involve changing the diet, the surroundings, or other factors. However, determining the best way is always a personal preference, since each senior has a unique health context. The most important thing to do first is to identify the main reason for the loss of appetite. Then, solving it will become less complicated.
If you need assistance in identifying appetite problems, we at Long Life Care Management are happy to help. We offer high-quality geriatric care management in McDonough, GA, with different senior care options to suit your family's needs. Begin your healthcare journey with us today; book a consultation to find out more!