Appetite tends to decrease with age. While the loss of appetite is often a result of preexisting medical conditions or medication side effects, it can also indicate the presence of cognitive decline. Here are some ways to stimulate a senior loved one’s appetite so he or she can maintain good health and energy.
Seniors don’t have to engage in rigorous exercise to stimulate their appetite. Taking a short, leisurely walk before mealtimes may be enough to increase the appetite and ensure your loved one consumes enough calories for the day. Exercise can also enhance mood, increase muscle strength, and lower blood pressure. For an added bonus, try getting your loved one to walk or exercise outdoors in the midday sun. Natural sunlight helps the body manufacture vitamin D. When vitamin D stores are exceptionally low, it can have a negative effect on the appetite.
Older adults who need help exercising should consider professional in-home care. Lehigh Valley home care professionals can be a wonderful boon to seniors. Whether they require around-the-clock supervision or just need assistance with exercise and household tasks a few days a week, seniors can enjoy a higher quality of life with the help of trusted in-home caregivers.
Provide Appetite Stimulants
If your loved one has little to no appetite and is losing weight, his or her healthcare provider may recommend taking a prescription appetite stimulant, which can quickly boost a sluggish appetite. Consider offering your parent protein-rich nutritional shakes, which restore depleted vitamins, prevent muscle wasting, boost energy, and possibly stimulate the appetite. While protein shakes can provide numerous health benefits, they may not be appropriate for those with kidney disorders, gout, or diabetes.
Many seniors prefer dining with other people. If your loved one eats meals alone, he or she may not enjoy the experience, subsequently leading to a poor appetite. If possible, arrange for family members or friends to join your parent for as many meals as possible. Consider taking your loved one to a restaurant or senior center so he or she can enjoy some meals with other people. Another option to prevent reduced socialization is to hire an in-home caregiver keep your loved one company during mealtimes.
For families living in Lehigh Valley, respite care can be a wonderful solution when their aging loved ones need companionship and socialization a few hours a week or just need minor assistance with daily household tasks. At Home Care Assistance, we thrive on helping seniors maintain their independence while living in the comfort of home.
Discontinue the Use of Certain Medications
Many prescription and over-the-counter medications can diminish the appetite in elderly people. Prescription pain relievers, medications used in the management of high blood pressure, diuretics, and certain diabetes drugs can decrease appetite and cause gastrointestinal disturbances such as nausea, vomiting, constipation, and diarrhea. If you believe your loved one isn’t eating as a result of medication side effects, make an appointment with his or her physician. The physician may lower the dosage or discontinue the medication and replace it with one that is less likely to cause appetite issues.
Loss of appetite often indicates the onset 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. Lehigh Valley seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more. To create a comprehensive in-home care plan for your elderly parent, call Home Care Assistance at 484-350-3874 today.