Is Appetite Loss a Normal Part of the Aging Process?

Senior Care in Brighton NY

Senior Care in Brighton NY

Noticing that your elderly loved one is not eating as much as they once did can be an unnerving realization for a family caregiver. You know how important it is for your parent to eat a healthy, balanced diet, and when they seem to have no appetite you worry that they are not giving their body what it needs to thrive.

Some loss of appetite is normal during the aging process. As the body ages, it no longer needs as many calories to maintain functioning as it is not going through as many processes each day. This means that your parent will not be as hungry. When the loss of appetite becomes not eating enough to sustain them, however, it could be an indication of a bigger problem.

Some indications that your parent is not eating enough include:

  • Noticeable weight loss when your parent was not trying to lose weight or had not mentioned losing weight
  • Ill-fitting clothing
  • Skin that looks thinner and more fragile
  • Gauntness in the face
  • Increased bruising
  • Excessive leftovers stored in their refrigerator or freezer
  • Not eating favorite foods or special treats that they used to enjoy when you bring them to them
  • Eating only small amounts when you have meals with them

Issues that may be related to your parent not eating enough include:

  • Depression
  • Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia
  • Dental pain
  • Swallowing difficulties
  • Loss of sense of smell
  • Loss of sense of taste
  • Medications that diminish appetite
  • Medications that cause feelings of nausea
  • Inability to cook for themselves or loss of interest in cooking just for themselves
  • Loneliness or isolation that decreases enjoyment of mealtimes, and therefore decreases motivation to eat

If you are concerned about your elderly parent’s loss of appetite, it is important to get in touch with their doctor as soon as possible to discuss your concerns. This will allow them to identify the cause of the decreased appetite and offer suggestions for how you can encourage your parent to eat more. Remember that the amount that your parent needs to eat as they get older is going to be less than they ate when they were younger, so their doctor will be able to guide you in how many calories your senior should be eating each day. They can also help you to create a meal plan that hits these calorie goals while also making sure that they get the right balance of essential nutrients and avoid harmful additives.

Worrying that your aging loved one is not getting the right nutrition can be challenging. With proper support from you and the help and assistance of a senior care provider, however, you can improve your parent’s nutrition and keep them healthier throughout their later years. This senior home care services provider can go grocery shopping with your loved one to help them choose healthy food options, assist with meal preparation, and even be there with your parent during mealtimes to offer support and companionship.

If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Brighton, NY, contact the caring staff at Caring Hearts of Rochester today! Serving Rochester, Pittsford, Greece, Webster, Canandaigua, Fairport, Perinton, Penfield, Brighton, Henrietta and surrounding communities. Call 585-245-0134.