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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Megestrol acetate and mirtazapine appear to be effective for appetite stimulation and weight gain in some settings.
10. Incorporate Healthy Snacks
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.
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.
Certain vitamins and minerals, including zinc and vitamin B-1, can increase appetite. However, these usually only work if the person has deficiencies in these nutrients. Other supplements, such as omega-3 fatty acids, may boost appetite.
Motivate the patient Encourage patients to eat at meal times or to eat small meals regularly when they are most hungry and to indulge in their favourite foods. Offer patients snacks to keep them interested in food. Remember, the longer a patient goes without food for the more likely they will not feel hungry.
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.