A major area for Family Caregivers to manage for their senior loved ones is managing nutrition and diet. If you find that you senior loved one is exhibiting a reduced appetite, you may want to consider what could be the reason behind such a change.
In some instances, the problem can be easily solved once identified. Others may require a conversation with a healthcare provider, but the first step can be addressed with a home health care worker or simply between the caregiver and your loved one. Here are a few reasons that may be behind your loved one’s refusal of food:
Altered senses: Your senior loved one may be experiencing a reduction in their senses of smell and taste, which can significantly affect how food tastes. Many mature adults experience a lessening of smell and taste as they age, but there are some ways to address it.
Try incorporating some new spices into recipes if you cook for your loved one, or mix up the menu by trying some Indian food if you normally tend to eat more pasta dishes, for example. The new foods may help with their eating habits.
Impaired vision: If your loved one has trouble seeing the food, the selection may have an unappealing appearance to them. If you are serving meat alongside potatoes, for instance, they may appear to be a continuation of brown and boring.
Again, try mixing things up a bit. Prepare colorful foods or add sauces that are red or green to make foods appear more appetizing. You could also try putting space between each item on the plate to make sure your loved one can distinguish each dish.
Medications affecting eating: Many medications can impact appetite, either because they reduce appetite as a side effect or because of an aftertaste of the medication. Your home health care worker may have knowledge as to whether a medication may be influencing appetite, but a conversation with your loved one’s physician can also help clear up a medication-related problem with appetite.
Constipation: Many prescription drugs can also cause constipation, which may leave your loved one turning away from food. Constipation can be very uncomfortable, so solve this problem first. Pay attention to how much water your loved one is consuming, which can be the best antidote for constipation.
Dental problems: Your loved one may have problems with teeth, dentures or gums that are making it difficult or unpleasant to eat. Be sure to mention to your loved one’s dentist that there has been a reduction in appetite so that they can check for any problems.
Dining alone: Eating by yourself can get old after just a few meals. If your loved one typically eats alone, try to schedule a few meals into your schedule to spend with them. Just some company may help them take a few more bites than they normally do.
Freudenthal Home Health specializes in supporting Family Caregivers and their senior loved ones so together we can help your loved one live a full life at home. Please contact us anytime at 816-676-8050 with any questions or concerns. We love to help.