Loss of Appetite in Seniors
5 Tips to Address Seniors' Appetite Loss
Loss of appetite is not uncommon in older people. Seniors often start eating less for a variety of reasons. Often, this is nature's way of adjusting appetite to actual nutritional needs in an aging human body, as older people tend to be less active and require fewer calories. However, careful attention must be given to ensure seniors get adequate nutrition despite a dwindling desire to eat. A balanced diet is essential for preserving good health and fighting disease.
Several factors play a role in seniors' loss of appetite. As mentioned above, older people need fewer calories because they need less energy and fuel as they slow down. Certain medications may reduce their interest in food, or cause them to feel tired or nauseated when they eat. Natural changes in the sense of taste or smell can lead to a loss of interest in eating.
The human body at any age needs a balanced diet to operate efficiently. Food provides fuel and all the necessary nutrients to sustain health and keep each bodily system working properly. With limited food intake, the body lacks nourishment, making people feel weak, tired, or listless. Inadequate nutrition increases the risk of contracting a serious illness like cancer. It leaves the body ill-equipped to fight off infections and stress, which can harm a person in many ways.
Fortunately, even though many seniors eat less often and smaller amounts, there are several ways to help them maintain important nutritional levels for good health. One option is to offer six smaller meals instead of three main meals. Eating less at a time is often preferable for older individuals.
Snacks can fill gaps left by small or incomplete meals. Fruits, vegetables, smoothies, cereal bars, and other healthy fill-ins help seniors to maintain adequate calorie intake and necessary nutritional levels.
Another option is to offer supplemental shakes or beverages that contain extra calories, vitamins, and minerals. These make great snacks or bedtime supplements.
Everyone should eat a balanced diet of proteins, carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables, dairy products, and healthy fats in the ratio prescribed by their doctor. As seniors begin to show less interest in food, family members can try tips like these to help their older loved ones get enough to eat to maintain good health. A sensible eating plan is a good prevention strategy. Help seniors avoid dangerous health issues by ensuring they eat well.