You may or may not already be aware of this, but our appetite can most definitely change as we age. Physical changes such as a slower metabolism rate, sensory changes, or side effects from medication can all contribute to the decline of our appetite. A loss of appetite may be a normal thing in older adults but it can lead to unhealthy weight loss or nutritional deficits. If you are looking for ways to help improve the appetite of older adults, here are some tips that you can consider.
Make it Count
If your older loved one has started to lose their appetite, it is not just about increasing the portion or frequency of their meals. You need to prepare meals that are highly nutritious and contain all the vitamins and calories that are necessary to support their development. When our appetite is low, we have a high tendency of wanting to consume something easy and quick such as sweets or snacks. They may taste and look nice but they are not necessarily healthy. This, in turn, may cause our body to become less efficient at absorbing key nutrients. Help your loved one to reduce their intake of empty calories which you can replace with foods rich in nutrients.
People eat whenever they feel hungry but in older adults who have lost their appetite, they almost never feel hungry. When you schedule the different meals at regular intervals, you can assist to remind your loved one to eat. Getting into a routine will help them stimulate their appetite as their body will expect meals at certain intervals.
We have always heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and this is true for multiple reasons. According to scientific data, eating breakfast can help to increase our appetite for the day. Upon taking our breakfast, our bodies will expect plenty of calories throughout the whole day. If breakfast is skipped, our body will assume that it is expected to conserve rather than burn any further calories.
Many older adults consume diets that are high in fiber which is highly beneficial for them. However, it does not help with their appetite or caloric intake. Several studies have shown that a high-fiber diet helps you feel full in a small portion. If you are looking to boost the appetite of your older loved one, it is recommended for you to prepare meals that have moderate fiber content.
Drink a Meal
One of the many reasons that older adults have a lack of appetite is because they have difficulty chewing. Meal options such as whole-fat milk, smoothies, and soup offer great nutritional value while still being so much easier for older adults to consume. There are plenty of bottled nutritional drinks available in stores for you to choose from.
Eating alone can make anyone lose appetite regardless of age. To help your older loved one eat more, accompany them during meal times or if you are not available, get a friend or neighbor to check in on them whenever possible.