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.
The medical reasons that could be causing appetite loss in the elderly include:
Try these tricks to stimulate appetite in the elderly:
People can experience a loss of appetite for a wide range of reasons. Some of these are short-term, including colds, food poisoning, other infections, or the side effects of medication. Others are to do with long-term medical conditions, such as diabetes, cancer, or life-limiting illnesses.
SUMMARY: Older adults generally need fewer calories. However, their nutrient needs are just as high or higher than when they were younger. That’s why eating nutrient-rich, whole foods becomes extremely important.
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.
10. Incorporate Healthy Snacks
Supplements to stimulate appetite
Megestrol acetate and mirtazapine appear to be effective for appetite stimulation and weight gain in some settings.
People can go longer without eating than they can without drinking, but for someone who is bedridden, they will typically die within a few days to two weeks if they stop eating or drinking completely.
Many medicines can cause loss of appetite as a side-effect, including some antidepressants such as fluoxetine, methylphenidate used for ADHD, chemotherapy, some medicines for type 2 diabetes, and strong painkillers (opiates).
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.
To help handle your lack of appetite, you might consider focusing on eating just one large meal per day, with light snacks in between. Eating frequent small meals can also be helpful, and these are usually easier on the stomach than large meals. Light exercise may also help increase appetite.
Eat foods high in calorie and protein content. Foods high in protein are peanut butter, eggs, nuts, cereal, chicken, steak, meat, etc. Foods high in calories are cheese, yogurt, ice cream, peanut butter, etc. Drink high-calorie beverages, such as milk, Ensure, smoothies, Boost and Carnation Instant Breakfast.
Some strategies and suggestions for low appetite days: