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What to do When Your Aging Loved One Won’t Eat

By Debbie Waddell, 8:00 am on

Proper nutrition is important at any age, but when caring for an aging parent it can make all the difference in health and quality of life. Many adults will begin to lose the desire to eat and begin neglecting to consume an adequate about of calories.

If your aging parent is not eating enough, or not eating at all, now is the time to find out the root cause of the problem and help get them back on the right track towards healthy living. Here are some common reasons that your aging parent may have lost their appetite:

A Reduction in the Senses
A reduction in the senses, especially taste and smell, may make some foods that were once enjoyable now seem unpleasant or bland. Alter recipes to include herbs and spices that add some more flavor to familiar dishes. Try separating each item on the plate or adding some colorful fruits and veggies as side dishes to create a more visually appealing meal for your loved one.

Certain Prescription Medications
Some prescription medications may cause a loss of appetite or constipation. Giving your parent some extra water throughout the day may help clear the digestive system. Ask your parent’s doctor if their medications can be adjusted or changed to reduce or eliminate side effects that may be affecting their normal eating habits. Adding in a fiber supplement, like Metamucil, can also prove to be beneficial in aiding with digestion.

Difficulty Chewing
Teeth, gum or salivation problems can make chewing difficult or painful for seniors. Set up an appointment with your parent’s doctor or dentist to determine the extent of the problem. Even ill-fitting dentures can make eating an uncomfortable experience. Consider incorporating softer, easy to eat foods into each meal along with managing any mouth pain. An in-home Placer County caregiver could also be used on an hourly or 24/7 basis to help during meal time.

The best thing to do as a beloved child or family member is to take the time to discuss the issue with your aging parent. You can also schedule an appointment or phone conversation with their doctor to discuss the situation in a non-confrontational manner. Do a little experimenting by adding flavor and color to each meal to determine which solutions work best for your loved one.

If you care for an aging parent or loved one and are having trouble managing daily activities,  leave meal preparation and other tasks in the assistance in the hands of the Placer County senior care professionals at Home Care Assistance. For more information about our in-home care services, call 916.226.3737 – we’re available to help 24/7.

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