Loss of Appetite in the Elderly

August 18, 2018
Janelle Thomas MSN, RN
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Have you or your home care aide noticed signs of malnutrition in your aging loved one? These could range from brittle, dry hair and cracked lips to confusion, dizziness, and fatigue, and they could be due to the fact that your senior has lost the will to eat.

Loss of appetite is common in the elderly for many reasons, but no matter what causes it, it is always a cause for concern.

Humans – especially seniors, whose immune systems are already compromised due to age – need food to fuel our bodies and give us energy and strength to carry out our everyday tasks. These tasks can be as mundane as walking from one room to another, or they can be as taxing as working out to try to stay in better shape.

4 Common Causes of Loss of Appetite in the Elderly

The first step to treating loss of appetite is to find out what is causing it. Here are some of the most common causes of appetite loss, many of which are either preventable or manageable.

1. Medication Side Effects

Nausea and loss of appetite are common side effects of many medications.

If your aging loved one has lost the will to eat, you or their senior home care aide should check the side effects listed on their pill bottles to see if their medicines could be the cause. If it is severe, talk to their doctor about possibly switching medications.

2. Depression or Anxiety

Depression, anxiety, stress, and tension can all cause one to lose their appetite. This could be because their emotional turmoil makes them feel nauseated or ill, or it could be because they simply feel no desire to eat.

If you have noticed mood changes in your senior along with their loss of appetite, there may be a connection between the two that is worth exploring.

3. Ill-Fitting Dentures

Poorly fitting dentures or other dental problems can make a senior reluctant to eat as well. It is difficult to eat if your teeth are slipping around in your mouth, or if it hurts to chew!

If your loved one is having dental problems, fixing these could help bring back their appetite.

4. Medical Conditions

Conditions like Alzheimer’s, kidney disease, or hepatitis can all cause a loss of appetite.

This could lead to serious problems with weight loss and malnutrition, so make sure to keep an eye on this and try consulting a doctor to see if they can give you some ideas that would improve your loved one’s appetite.

Contact Care Options for Kids for Home Health Care Services

Malnutrition and weight loss can be very bad for seniors, so it is important for you and your loved one’s senior home care aide to take action if you notice your loved one isn’t eating properly or doesn’t seem motivated to eat.

Start by asking them if something is bothering them – there could be a simple solution to their problem you could put into action today.

If they are not sure why they are not hungry anymore, it may be time to visit a doctor for some tests or at least a conversation to try to find out the reason.

If you or an aging loved one are considering home health care services, contact the caring staff at Care Options for Kids. Call today at (888) 592-5855.

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