Tips for Stimulating Appetite in Seniors

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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 in-home care. 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 you need respite from your caregiving duties or your aging loved one needs live-in care, Green Valley, AZ, Home Care Assistance can meet your family’s care needs. Our dedicated caregivers are available around the clock to provide transportation to doctor’s appointments, ensure seniors take their prescribed medications, and help with a variety of tasks in and outside the home.

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 a 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. 

If your loved one’s appetite is decreasing, a trained professional caregiver can be a great resource for making sure your loved one gets proper nutrition. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of senior care. Green Valley families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet their elderly loved ones’ unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. To hire a professionally trained caregiver for your loved one, call us at 520-625-2050 today.