Appetite Loss in the Elderly

It started in a trickle. Saving half of her lunch to eat at dinner time didn’t seem like that big of a deal. Then it began to worsen. Previously tolerable foods were total intolerable (broccoli in this case) and even favorite foods are now nibbled. It is a cause for concern, as it would be in any elderly patient. So, what’s the problem? Then, You should check some way to suppress appetite.

Taste buds: As we get older, we lose some of our sense of taste. As that happens, we require our foods to be stronger in flavor or they become boring. While that is probably not our cause, it is one that should be checked. The easiest way is to try serving foods with more pronounced flavor and see if the appetite picks up.

Depression: Our elders are at extreme risk for depression. Their bodies don’t work the way they used to. They can’t get out as easily. They may live alone, and feel incredibly lonely. Some may have to go into assisted living or other facilities. Even their choices may be taken away. The car keys get taken, finances are turned over to someone else and even medications are regulated by other people. That’s enough to make anyone depressed, and depression often leads to loss of appetite.

Embarrassment: Some illnesses cause the patients hands to shake. This can make it difficult for someone to transport food from fork to mouth. In some cases, more food lands on the floor than in the stomach. That by itself is embarrassing enough, but being fed is even more so. For some, it’s easier not to eat than deal with the embarrassment.

Illness: Our case is most likely a combination of her severe illness and depression. Some illnesses can change tastes. As an example, her illness can cause a metallic taste in her mouth and a decreased saliva output. Both can make eating less enjoyable. The latter can make it more difficult.

Lack of appetite in a senior citizen is a serious matter. The doctor should be notified so that the cause can be found. In many cases, the matter is an easily treatable problem. However, as in this last case, it could mean life changing and/or life ending results.

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