Most often, a gradual decrease in appetite is considered a normal part of the aging process. Seniors have lower energy levels and often partake in less physical activity, which means they generally need less calories than a younger person.
Some common reasons the elderly doesn’t want to eat is that their ability to smell and taste has decreased. In addition, elderly not eating can be due to medications they are taking or even oral health issues. Some older adults have difficulty chewing due to issues with their dentures or teeth and gums.
6 ways to get seniors with no appetite to eat
Poverty, loneliness, and social isolation are the predominant social factors that contribute to decreased food intake in the elderly. Depression, often associated with loss or deterioration of social networks, is a common psychological problem in the elderly and a significant cause of loss of appetite.
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.
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.
Refusing food and drink is one of the symptoms of the natural dying process and not its cause. Side effects of dehydration include thirst and dry mouth, both of which can be alleviated by providing frequent and thorough mouth care. This is an opportunity for you to express that you care in a new way.
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.
9 tips to get seniors with no appetite to eat
How to Increase and Stimulate Appetite in the Elderly
Megestrol acetate and mirtazapine appear to be effective for appetite stimulation and weight gain in some settings.
Causes of loss of appetite include pregnancy, metabolic problems, chronic liver disease, COPD, dementia, HIV, hepatitis, hypothyroidism, chronic kidney failure, heart failure, cocaine, heroin, speed, chemotherapy, morphine, codeine, and antibiotics.