Refusal to eat by the elderly, and subsequent mal- nutrition, occurs in both institutional and commu- nity settings. Causes include physiologic changes associated with aging, mental disorders such as dementia and depression, and medical, social, and environmental factors.
6 ways to get seniors with no appetite to eat
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.
However, there are many times when a patient refuses to eat and it can be dangerous for their health. There are ways to increase the healthy calories in smaller portions by simply adding:
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.
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 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.
If a person stops eating or drinking because of their reduced appetite, this may be hard to accept, but it is a normal part of the dying process. If they stop drinking, their mouth may look dry, but this does not always mean they are dehydrated. It is normal for all dying people eventually to stop eating and drinking.
It may seem that the person is being starved or dehydrated to death, but they are not. In the end stages of dementia (in the last few months or weeks of life), the person’s food and fluid intake tends to decrease slowly over time. The body adjusts to this slowing down process and the reduced intake.
Experts suggest that signs of the final stage of Alzheimer’s disease include some of the following: Being unable to move around on one’s own. Being unable to speak or make oneself understood. Needing help with most, if not all, daily activities, such as eating and self-care. 4