Loss of appetite is a big problem in many senior citizens. It can be due to many causes, such as stress, anxiety, side effects of a medication, denture problems, or a medical condition. No matter what the cause, though, it can lead to serious weight loss, which can be a serious problem.
If you are responsible for the elder care of an aging loved-one, you might feel like you’re at the end of your rope. Your loved-one just never seems to “feel like” eating! You have ruled out a medical condition, but other than that you have no real clue what is going on. All you know is that you have to find a way to get your loved-one to eat, because you can’t just watch them fade away.
In some cases, the answer could be as simple as switching up your meal plan.
Many caregivers tend to serve their charges the same type of meal every day. This is understandable, because there are certain things that should and should not be in a senior’s diet. There must be lean meats, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, and there should be little to no sugary snacks and fatty, greasy food. Maybe you found a way to make a meal out of these things that is easy to make and reliable, and for a while, it seemed to really appeal to your loved-one, so you make it several times a week.
But think about this: do you like to eat the same meal several times a week?
Sure, it is comforting to always know what you’re going to get, but isn’t there such a thing as being too predictable? No matter how much you love spaghetti, you wouldn’t want to eat it every single day of your life, would you? While it might be nice at first, it will eventually get boring. That could be how your senior feels about their meals now.
As human beings, we all have a tendency to get into a routine. It makes things easier, and it is comforting, because we know what will happen and what everything will be like, and we don’t have to waste time thinking outside of the box. However, being in a routine can quickly turn into being in a rut, and that makes us feel listless and uninspired.
What can you do?
Part of your elderly care duties are to entice your loved-one to eat more if they are underweight, so it is up to you to think of a way to make this work. If you usually make chicken and rice for dinner, try whipping up a nice pasta or a plate of baked salmon instead. Is there a meal that your mother always used to make for you when you were growing up? Make that for her tonight! Maybe she has a meal that she absolutely loved, but she hasn’t eaten for a while. Or maybe there is something neither of you have ever tried, but are very curious about. Whatever you decide to do, the main thing is that you switch things up. Routine is great, but if you want to get someone engaged and inspired, you have to do something new and different and exciting. You may find that this is all that is necessary to bring back your loved-one’s appetite!
If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Smithtown, NY, please contact the caring staff at Family First Home Companions.
Serving all of Long Island. Call today: (631) 319-3961
Jennifer has specialized training in Alzheimer’s disease through the Long Island Alzheimer’s Association and the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation.She also volunteered her time with the Alzheimer's Disease Assistance Center of Long Island for 3 years by providing cognitive stimulation to an Alzheimer’s patient group.
Jennifer educates the community about elder care and speaks to caregiver support groups, senior centers, and at professional organizations.Topics include home safety, effective strategies for family caregiving, elder care planning, and awareness about elder abuse.
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