How to Stimulate Appetite in Older Adults

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Many aging adults have low appetite due to reasons ranging from changing taste buds to lack of exercise. If your senior loved one isn’t eating enough, don’t give up hope. Here are a few ways you can stimulate your parent’s appetite.

Determine the Reason for Loss of Appetite

There are many reasons seniors lose their appetite. Sometimes it’s a side effect of an existing condition like Alzheimer’s or a thyroid disorder. Loss of appetite can also be caused by a new medication, lack of exercise, or dehydration. Keep an eye on your loved one’s lifestyle, and see if you can figure out why he or she isn’t hungry. Modifying your parent’s routine is a good way to stimulate his or her appetite.

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 senior care. Fairfield Home Care Assistance provides professional in-home caregivers around the clock to help seniors live longer, happier, and healthier lives.

Set a Regular Schedule

When seniors eat at set times every day, their bodies may acclimate to the structure. The body knows when it’s time to eat, and it reacts to impending mealtimes by sending signals of hunger to the brain. If you set specific mealtimes and stick to them, your loved one might eventually get used to this new routine. You may find that your parent is more willing to eat at these scheduled mealtimes and that his or her food intake increases.

Prepare Finger Foods

Loss of appetite is often caused by the inability to use knives and forks. Try adding a healthy dose of finger foods to your loved one’s daily meals, and see if it has a positive effect on his or her appetite. Healthy options include slices of raw vegetables, homemade chicken tenders, and protein-rich nuts. 

From preparing meals to eating their food, older adults may require assistance with a wide variety of tasks. Whether your elderly loved one needs part-time assistance with basic household chores or you need a break from your caregiving duties, the Fairfield respite care experts at Home Care Assistance are here to help. All of our respite care services are backed with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we never ask our clients to sign long-term contracts.

Serve Liquid Meals

For seniors who have difficulty chewing, liquid meals can be an appealing alternative to traditional foods. Liquid-based meals are versatile, and they can be served for any meal of the day. In the morning, make a healthy shake by combining fruit, Greek yogurt, ice, and protein powder. For lunch and dinner, soups are a great option, as they can be tailored to your loved one’s dietary needs. For instance, milk-based broths are good for seniors who need extra calcium and vegetable-based broths are ideal for those who are lactose intolerant. Once you’ve added veggies, spices, and tender meat, you’ve got a nutrient-rich meal your loved one may enjoy eating. If your loved one has difficulty using spoons, pour soup into a mug and let him or her sip it.

Provide Healthy Snacks

If your loved one prefers snacking to eating full meals, take his or her preferences into account. Have plenty of healthy snacks available at all times, including chopped fruits and veggies, yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, avocados, and string cheese.

Ensure Adequate Hydration

Dehydration can lead to appetite loss. Make sure your loved one always has a glass of water or water bottle within reach. If you don’t think your parent is getting enough calories during the day, provide glasses of whole-fat milk to sip on.

Loss of appetite is often the result of a serious medical condition. Living with a serious health condition can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Fairfield seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more. To hire a professionally trained caregiver for your aging parent, call Home Care Assistance at 203-955-1915 today.