As our senior loved ones get older, we often notice them eating less or what appears to us as not at all because food just doesn’t seem to taste good to them. We may wish we had that same issue as even glancing at a donut seems to cause the numbers on that bathroom scale to go up. Unfortunately, for seniors, a decrease in the ability to taste foods can lead to a variety of problems. When our loved ones can’t taste food as well as they once did the result is a lower appetite. That in turn translates into weight loss and in more severe cases our loved one can become malnourished or even deteriorate medically. As caregivers, we can’t help but worry when someone we care for seems to be wasting away.
By the time we are fifty years old our ability to recognize different tastes starts to diminish. This is part of the natural aging process. In addition, there are some underlying health problems that can contribute to decreased ability to taste food. Among the most common problems are the presence of diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s Disease, allergies, and sinusitis. Smoking, dental problems, and some medications can also affect the sense of taste. If we notice our loved ones eating less and complaining about tasteless food, we need to get in touch with their doctor and address any medical problems they may have. Getting any medical issues under control should help a healthy appetite return. If this loss of appetite is simply due to aging, there are things we can do.
First and foremost, don’t pressure your loved one to eat more. Stressing someone out never leads to a healthy appetite. Have a frank discussion about the importance of eating and try to enlist your loved one’s help. You can try serving smaller meals more frequently than the traditional three squares a day. Your loved one won’t be overwhelmed by what they may think is a lot of food. Turn a meal into a social event and try to share a meal with your loved one whenever you can. This can take the pressure off eating and make mealtime something your loved one looks forward to. If your loved one’s diet allows, try increasing and changing the seasonings used in their food. If possible, encourage some exercise or getting some fresh air to increase appetite. Do you have any tips that have worked to get your loved one to eat? Share below and visit us at http://www.trilliumhomecare.com