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Loss Of Appetite In The Elderly

Posted by Deb Spinelli on 10/27/2015
Changes in appetite are a natural part of aging. Some diminishment of appetite is also to be expected as we age. Given the reality of age related appetite loss, it is particularly important to ensure that the elderly receive adequate nutrients. If your elderly loved one is not eating as much as he or she once did, it is very important to ensure that he or she still receives adequate nutrition in the form of vitamins and meal replacement options.

It is important to distinguish between appetite loss related to illness and normal age related appetite loss. There are a variety of different factors that can lead to a reduced appetite in the elderly. Lack of interest in food can be related to changes in taste buds, and it can also be linked to depression or loneliness. If your loved one lives alone and is not eating, this could be because he or she simply lacks the necessary energy to prepare meals. Loss of appetite can also be due to underlying health conditions as well as medication side effects.

Regardless of the cause of a decrease in appetite, it is necessary that adequate steps be taken to ensure that your elderly loved one continues to receive adequate nutrition. The detrimental effects of poor nutrient intake can be particularly disastrous for the elderly. It is also important to rule out underlying health problems, as well as mental health issues such as depression, before simply attributing your loved one's reduced appetite to normal aging. It is a good idea to consult a physician when you notice changes in your loved one's appetite.

Of course, when loss of appetite can be attributed to the normal aging process, it is still essential to ensure that your loved one receives proper nutrition. Lessened physical activity and a lower metabolic rate mean that the elderly need fewer calories than they once did. This is why it is important to introduce meal replacement supplements to ensure adequate caloric intake (such as delicious Ensure shakes and pudding, available from The Medical Maven).

Some other common causes of appetite loss in the elderly include dental problems, which can make eating painful, as well as gastrointestinal issues such as age-related lactose intolerance. Changes to a person's sense of smell can also have an adverse effect on appetite. If these or other issues are adversely affecting your loved one's nutrition, consult a physician to learn about healthy meal replacement options.

Posted in: Elderly Care, Nutrition