How Can I Stimulate Appetite in my Elderly Loved Ones?
6 ways to get seniors with no appetite to eat
How to Increase and Stimulate Appetite in the Elderly
How to Get Your Elderly Parents to Eat
Malnutrition from inadequate food intake is responsible for 40 out of every 100,000 deaths in adults over age 85. Causes of refusal to eat and drink may include physiologic changes associated with aging, mental disorders including dementia and depression, medical, social, and environmental factors.
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.
According to one article, those on their deathbeds can survive between 10 and 14 days without food and water. Some longer periods of survival have been noted, but are less common. Keep in mind that people who are bedridden aren’t using much energy. A person who is healthy and mobile would likely perish much sooner.
When an elderly person stops eating and drinking, in time, they will die just like anyone else. 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.
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.
Use Herbs and Spices Some examples of carminative herbs and spices are fennel, peppermint, black pepper, coriander, mint, ginger and cinnamon ( 11 ). As well as helping reduce the “heavy stomach” feeling, these herbs and spices can help make your meals more appealing.
A person can live for a very long time without eating, but dehydration (lack of fluids) speeds up the process. VSED is ultimately a process of dehydrating the body. Dying from a lack of food alone can be prolonged and more uncomfortable than dying from dehydration.
When someone is no longer taking in any fluid, and if he or she is bedridden (and so needs little fluid) then this person may live as little as a few days or as long as a couple of weeks. In the normal dying process people lose their sense of hunger or thirst.
Megestrol acetate and mirtazapine appear to be effective for appetite stimulation and weight gain in some settings.