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What to Do When a Senior Refuses to Eat

Senior Refuses to Eat

This article will take a closer look what to do when a senior refuses to eat and the reasons why some seniors lose their appetite. We will then explain how home care can help a senior enjoy their food again.

It is normal for seniors to lose their appetite as they get older.  It occurs as a natural part of the aging process. Food can even lose its flavor for many seniors and certain types of food become upsetting to the stomach.

Even though having a reduced appetite is common, seniors must continue to enjoy a healthy and nutritious diet. Their body still requires a wide range of nutrients to maintain their health.  Enjoying a delicious meal also brings a great deal of happiness into a person’s life.

Identifying Why a Loss of Appetite is Occurring

By identifying the issue causing a loss of appetite, you can find a solution. The most common causes of a loss of appetite in seniors are:

Medications

Most medications have a number of side effects. Some side effects can change a person’s eating habits by causing nausea, bloating, a bad taste in the mouth, constipation, diarrhea, or dry mouth. If a senior is experiencing any of these side effects, they should talk with their doctor about mitigating them. The physician might recommend changing how or when the medications are taken. In some cases, they might even change the type of medications being used or move to non-pharmaceutical solutions.

Oral health
Many seniors have problems with their oral health. These problems include tooth decay, sore gums, poorly fitting dentures, and loose teeth.  If a senior feels pain every time they take a bite, it is no wonder their appetite for food is reduced!  Overcome these issues by talking them to a dentist or a physician.

Reduction in senses
Many seniors experience a decline in their sense of smell and taste as they age, which can lead to a reduction in appetite. This issue can be overcome by modifying recipes or trying new foods.  Use more aromatic herbs and spices, along with more distinctive flavors. In many cases, seniors find their food preferences completely change after they try a few new dishes.  Avoid packing in more salt or sugar to enhance the flavor of dishes — use fresh herbs and spices instead.

Constipation
Many seniors suffer from constipation, often caused by the medications they take.  Being constipated makes people feel full, which reduces their appetite. To overcome this issue, have the senior drink more water, eat more fiber, and exercise more often.

Difficulty cooking
If a senior struggles to cook their own meals; they may resort to easy meals like microwave dinners. They are usually less nutritious than home-cooked meals and can take a toll on a senior’s appetite. This issue can be overcome by having a caregiver cook meals in the home or ordering meals from a delivery service like meals on wheels.

Dining alone
Eating alone can make some seniors feel quite sad and lonely. This can cause them to rush through their meals, only eating a part of it. They may even start skipping meals. This issue can be overcome by having a caregiver eat meals with the senior or by participating in social activities where groups of people enjoy a meal together.

How can All Heart Home Care help?
All Heart Home Care provides a wide range of non-medical home care services in the greater San Diego area.  Some of the ways we can help a senior enjoy a healthy and nutritious diet include:

  • Preparing meals in the client’s home
    We can cook delicious and nutritious meals for the client in their own kitchen. Our caregivers can even cook the client’s favorite meals based on their family recipes.
  • Delivering meals
    Our caregivers can deliver meals from their favorite restaurants, or pick up meals from another provider.
  • Ensuring the pantry is well stocked
    Our caregivers can go grocery shopping on behalf of the client, ensuring that the pantry is packed with delicious and nutritious food.
  • Helping the client eat
    Our caregivers can help the client eat if they struggle to use utensils or see their food.
  • Provide companionship
    Caregivers can simply spend time with the client as they enjoy their meal, providing companionship and making meals more enjoyable.

If you would like to learn more about the topic senior refuses to eat and the services All Heart Home Care provides, contact us today at (619) SENIORS (736-4677).

Eric Barth
Eric Barth
CEO and blogger for All Heart Home Care. I devote myself to helping seniors age in their own home while maintaining a feeling of independence, preserve their dignity, and enhance the quality of their life. I write these blogs to help educate the public on issues surrounding what seniors find to be the most important. My blogs are from my own personal research. I hope you enjoy my blog posts.

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