© Danielle Robertson Consulting Pty Ltd t/as DR Care Solutions
The loss of appetite in ageing is a normal part of the ageing process. However, it is still vital that despite the loss of appetite, an individual consistently receives the required nutrients to maintain a healthy body. Nutrients are required to support the body and a healthy ageing process. The ageing process is already full of physical changes and does not need the added pressure of health and wellness problems caused from a lack of nutrition.
Other than ageing, there can also be other contributing factors to the loss of appetite in people. This includes medication side effects, or health conditions, changing taste buds or a lack of energy or ability to cook. In addition, certain medical conditions can also cause a reduced appetite, these include:
- Mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.
- Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.
- Mouth and throat infections or periodontal disease.
- Head, neck and other cancers.
- After effects of a stroke or head injury (swallowing issues).
- Gastrointestinal issues (acid reflux, diverticulitis, gall bladder etc).
- Thyroid disorders.
- Salivary gland dysfunction.
What Can Do You To Help Manage Their Nutrition?
- Take a closer look at the individual’s lifestyle to understand the impact to good nutrition.
- Consider the nutrients and ensure meals are rich in nutrients rather than larger in portions.
- Keep a food diary to track consumed foods to ensure they are getting enough nutrients.
- Consider their medications and health conditions, and learn about their effects on appetite.
- Consider physical function and the role it plays in appetite e.g. pain or discomfort.
- Create a regular eating schedule.
- Provide their favourite meals on a regular basis.
- Make meals a social event with family and loved ones to encourage a positive environment. Encourage them not to eat a meal alone all of the time.
If you are concerned about the loss of appetite, increased weight loss / gain or nutrition concerns, it is best to contact their regular general practitioner or health care professional for advice. An individual's nutrition can be effectively managed through the guidance of their medical team and the support of their in-home care service provider or residential aged care facility. It may be as simple as bringing in a dietician or nutritionist to assess the individual and their requirements.
Should you or a loved one need some guidance in this area, please feel free to contact Danielle Robertson from DR Care Solutions.