How to Increase and Stimulate Appetite in the Elderly
6 ways to get seniors with no appetite to eat
The physiological changes that occur with ageing that can impair appetite include changes to the digestive system, hormonal changes, disease, pain, changes to the sense of smell, taste and vision and a decreased need for energy. Changes to the digestive system can contribute to declining appetite.
Stick to bland foods like crackers, toast, potatoes, noodles, and rice. Try eating very small meals, 6-8 a day. You may be able to tolerate foods that contain a lot of water, like frozen pops, Jell-O, and broth-based soups.
Unfortunately, refusing to eat and/or a lack of appetite is a common aspect of dementia, which can be a great source of concern and frustration for caregivers. Forcing your loved one to eat is not an option, however, since they may choke or accidentally inhale food into their lungs.
Elderly dietary problems can be caused by a number of different factors: lack of interest in food due to changing taste buds, depression, or loneliness; lack of energy to cook; loss of appetite due to health conditions; and medication side effects, to name just a few.
If you stop eating and drinking, death can occur as early as a few days, though for most people, approximately ten days is the norm. In rare instances, the process can take as long as several weeks.
Megestrol acetate and mirtazapine appear to be effective for appetite stimulation and weight gain in some settings.
16 Ways to Increase Your Appetite
Lifestyle changes to stimulate appetite
Refusal of food can result in electrolyte imbalance and nutritional deficiencies and worsen psychotic symptoms. When patients refuse to eat, they are at risk of having a seizure due to poor nutrition.