It’s important for an older adult’s appetite to remain robust. Age and certain medical conditions can lead to nutritional deficiencies, and a poor appetite needs to be recognized and managed as soon as possible. Here are five simple ways to stimulate your parent’s appetite.
1. Monitor Medication Side Effects
Both prescription and over-the-counter medications can cause side effects in seniors. For example, anti-inflammatory medications often lead to digestive issues such as stomach pain and loss of appetite. In addition, antibiotics could cause severe abdominal cramping and intractable diarrhea. These side effects tend to diminish appetite, and in severe cases may lead to dehydration and nutritional deficits. If your loved one is experiencing loss of appetite or gastrointestinal side effects as a result of medications, make an appointment with his or her physician to review the medicines.
Loss of appetite can impact a senior’s health, wellbeing, and quality of life. If your elderly loved one needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of Anchorage home care. Our caregivers provide transportation to and from medical appointments and social events, nutritious meal preparation, assistance with daily exercise, and help with everyday tasks like bathing, grooming, and light housekeeping.
2. Encourage Exercise
If your loved one is able, encourage mild exercise such as walking. The activity allows older adults to soak up the sun and enjoy some fresh air, both of which may contribute to a heartier appetite. Before making regular exercise a part of your parent’s daily routine, make sure it’s enhancing the appetite. If your loved one is exercising without taking in more calories, he or she may lose weight.
3. Watch for Mood Changes
You should also watch your loved one for changes in mood and behavior. Depression, anxiety, and agitation can lead to appetite loss and other eating disorders. If your loved one exhibits isolative behavior, combativeness, or confusion, make an appointment with his or her physician. The physician can perform a physical examination along with a psychological evaluation. If necessary, the primary care doctor may refer your parent to a psychologist or psychiatrist for further evaluation and treatment. Once psychological issues have been recognized and treated, your loved one’s normal eating patterns may return.
Some older adults need help preparing nutritious and delicious meals that can prevent appetite loss. Whether your elderly loved one needs part-time assistance with basic household chores or you need a break from your caregiving duties, the Anchorage respite care experts at Home Care Assistance are here to help. All of our respite care services are backed with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we never ask our clients to sign long-term contracts.
4. Provide Prescription Appetite Stimulants
If your loved one experiences severe appetite loss that is affecting his or her weight, the physician may prescribe a few appetite stimulants. While appetite stimulants won’t treat the source of the appetite loss, they may prevent nutritional deficiencies. Sometimes, the sources of poor eating habits and appetite loss are never discovered. However, the physician can pursue diagnostic testing in an attempt to uncover the reasons.
5. Encourage Socialization
Many older individuals don’t enjoy dining alone, which may result in appetite loss. If possible, organize occasional family meals or take your loved one to a senior citizen center or restaurant on a regular basis to socialize with other people. When your parent has social meals to look forward to, the appetite may return.
A decrease in appetite often indicates the onset of a serious health issue. Living with a serious health condition can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Anchorage seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more. To hire a professionally trained caregiver for your aging parent, call Home Care Assistance at (907) 770-0907 today.