Watching your senior loved one push the plate away at yet another meal can be disheartening, and many older adults experience a poor appetite. The next time your parent complains about loss of appetite, consider taking the following steps.
1. Stick to a Regular Meal Schedule
A lack of appetite sometimes happens when a person eats heavy meals too close together or munches on snacks throughout the day. Observe your loved one’s current eating habits to determine if he or she may simply not have enough time to get hungry. Then, set up a schedule for mealtimes that allows for several hours to pass between major meals. To satiate your parent between meals, provide small and healthy snacks that serve as a supplement to lunch and dinner rather than a separate meal. For instance, an orange is a healthy snack that may not cause your loved one to be too full when it’s time to eat again.
If your loved one needs help maintaining healthy habits and accomplishing daily tasks, a caregiver from Home Care Assistance Coral Gables can help. Our caregivers are expertly trained to provide mental and social stimulation, assist with exercise, prepare nutritious meals, and much more.
2. Make Food Visually Appealing
Seniors often experience a lack of interest in food when they begin to lose their sense of taste and smell. While this gradual decrease in sensation is a normal part of aging, you may have to get creative with how you present your loved one’s meals. Try serving dishes that involve multiple colors, such as a cucumber and tomato salad, to tempt your parent visually.
3. Experiment with Simpler Foods
Sometimes family caregivers make the mistake of preparing complicated gourmet meals out of the desire to see their loved one eat. However, staring at a plate with huge servings of food that is difficult to eat may overwhelm your parent. Instead, try preparing nutrient-dense meals with food that can be served in smaller portions. For instance, avocado served with scrambled eggs gives your loved one iron, protein, and healthy omega-3 fatty acids without forcing him or her to eat too much. When your parent sees a simple meal, he or she may be more likely to try a bite or two.
Older adults who find it difficult to prepare nutritious meals often experience a decrease in appetite. If your aging loved one needs occasional help with bathing, grooming, cooking, or other basic household tasks, or if you need time to attend to important personal matters, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of live-in and respite care. Coral Gables seniors can maintain their independence while living at home with the help of our reliable respite caregivers.
4. Invite Guests Over for Meals
Your loved one may rush through meals just to get them over with if he or she lives alone. Help your parent find more enjoyment during mealtimes by arranging for regular lunch and dinner dates. As your loved one lingers over meals with a caregiver, he or she may be likely to eat more.
5. Encourage Exercise
Physical activity burns off energy and stimulates hunger. If your loved one lives a sedentary lifestyle, a lack of exercise could be part of the issue. Help your parent perform simple workout routines such as a short walk or bed stretches to stimulate appetite just before mealtimes.
Older adults who need help preparing and eating nutritious meals should consider professional in-home care. If your senior loved one needs hourly or live-in care, Coral Gables Home Care Assistance can help. Our caregivers can assist with exercise and mobility, prepare nutritious meals, provide timely medication reminders, and help with a wide array of other important daily tasks. To talk to one of our professional Care Managers, give us a call at 1 (305) 964-5636 today.