Strategies to Try if an Older Parent Refuses to Eat

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Proper nutrition is important at any age, but for older adults, it can make all the difference in their health and quality of life. Many adults begin to lose the desire to eat and neglect to consume an adequate amount of calories.

The best thing to do as a beloved child or family member is to take the time to discuss the issue with your parent. You can also schedule an appointment or phone conversation with the doctor to discuss the situation in a nonconfrontational manner. If your parent isn’t eating enough or not eating at all, now is the time to find out the root cause of the problem and get him or her back on the right track to healthy living. Here are some ways to handle the situation when seniors have lost their appetite.

Try Various Herbs & Spices

A dulling of the senses, especially taste and smell, may make some foods that were once enjoyable now seem unpleasant or bland. You can alter recipes to include herbs and spices that add some more flavor to familiar dishes. In addition, try separating each item on the plate or adding some colorful fruits and veggies as side dishes to create a more visually appealing meal for your loved one.

Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of elder care. Woodbridge families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.

Ask the Doctor about Adjusting Prescriptions

Your loved one’s diminished appetite may be due to one or more medications he or she is taking. Ask your parent’s doctor if the medications can be adjusted or changed to reduce or eliminate side effects that may be affecting normal eating habits. Adding in a fiber supplement can also prove to be beneficial in aiding with digestion, and giving your parent some extra water throughout the day may clear the digestive system.

Ensuring your loved one gets proper nutrition when he or she doesn’t want to eat can be exhausting. If you’re the primary family caregiver for an elderly loved one and need additional assistance providing high-quality senior care, Home Care Assistance can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to changing the way seniors age.

Take Your Loved One to the Dentist

Teeth, gum, or salivation problems can make chewing difficult or painful for seniors. Set up an appointment with your parent’s dentist to determine the extent of the problem. Even ill-fitting dentures can make eating an uncomfortable experience. Finding the problem early on can help you address the issue and boost your loved one’s health. Consider incorporating softer, easy-to-eat foods into each meal along with addressing any mouth pain. Serving softer foods or pureeing meals could reduce chewing and swallowing issues and encourage your loved one to eat. 

Share Meals with Your Loved One

Aging adults who have companionship during meals are likely to eat more. Try to enjoy meals with your loved one when you can, and have a friend or family member step in when you can’t. Having a dining companion may encourage your loved one to consume more food, and you can also keep track of your loved one’s food intake more closely if another person is sitting down with him or her during meals. A caregiver could also be hired on an hourly or 24/7 basis to help during mealtimes.

For families living in Woodbridge, respite care can be a wonderful solution when their aging loved ones need companionship and socialization a few hours a week or just need minor assistance with daily household tasks. At Home Care Assistance, we thrive on helping seniors maintain their independence while living in the comfort of home. To schedule a free in-home consultation, give us a call at (203) 444-8575 today.

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