It is not unexpected for an elderly adult to not eat as much as they did when they were younger or as much as younger members of their family might eat. Their metabolisms are slower and they tend to be less active than younger people, requiring less food to keep them going. For some elderly adults, however, this decreased appetite reaches a more serious level, potentially leading to inadequate nutrition that can cause physical health complications and problems as they age in place. Identifying that your aging parent is struggling with loss of appetite is important to making meaningful modifications to their care to help them avoid the potentially devastating consequences of them not getting enough of the nutrition that they need, as well as addressing the cause of the decrease.
Some of signs of loss of appetite that you should look out for include:
- Weight loss. If your parent is looking thinner, their clothing is not fitting well, or they feel smaller when you hug them, but they have not mentioned the desire to lose weight, they may be suffering from loss of appetite. A specific study into outpatient male veterans over the age of 64 showed that more than 13 percent experienced unintentional weight loss, and were therefore at increased risk of mortality.
- Disinterest in food-related activities. Invite your parent to go to dinner at your house or to their favorite restaurant. Bring them some of a favorite treat. Ask them to prepare a special family recipe with you. If they do not show interest or seem only “lukewarm” about the prospect, or they choose to participate but only pick at their food, it might be that they do not have the appetite that they used to.
- Frequently finding spoiled food in their kitchen. Go through your elderly loved one’s kitchen and check for spoiled or outdated food. This could include packaged foods as well as leftovers from meals that you or they prepare. Having large amounts of spoiled or outdated food in their kitchen might indicate that they are not feeling hungry and do not want to eat as much as they should.
If your aging parent’s challenges have increased, your schedule has become busier, or your personal limitations and challenges have come to the point that you no longer feel as though you can fulfill your loved one’s needs in the way that they deserve, now may be the ideal time for you to consider starting care for them. A home care provider can step in to fill any care gaps that might exist in your care routine with your loved one, ensuring that they get what they need to remain safe, healthy, happy, and comfortable as they age in place. Not only will this help your elderly parent maintain a higher quality of life and a more fulfilling lifestyle throughout your later years, but it can also give you greater peace of mind knowing that they are getting the care, assistance, support, and encouragement that they need. If you are facing challenges related to handling potentially sensitive or emotionally vulnerable tasks for your senior, a care provider can also be a neutral, respectful party to handle these tasks so that they are met effectively while maintaining your parent’s dignity and comfort.
If you or a family member are in need of a caregiver in Aventura, FL, call the caring professionals at Star Multi Care today at (954) 870-4770. Providing service in Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Weston, Southwest Ranches, Pembroke Pines, Cooper City, Lighthouse Point, and Wilton Manors.