There is nothing more difficult and frustrating than seeing your client or loved one lose weight due to missed or skipped meals or plain loss of appetite. A common nutritional problem that can affect many elderly individuals is known as cachexia-anorexia, which is a progressive and involuntary disorder. The people with this disorder are “wasting-away” from the lack of vitamins and nutrients. Remember to consult a physician about the specific dietary needs of your loved one.
- Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration, which can lead to appetite suppression.
- Eat small meals – 6 per day
- Bulk up on the amount of calories per meal / Add protein powder mix to drinks
- Serve soft foods that are tasty and easy to digest (pudding, ice cream, smoothies)
- Make it tasty – Don’t serve bland or sour tasting foods
- Empower them to make decisions on what they would like to eat
- Present appetizing meals by accenting the plate with a garnish (i.e. strawberry or melon)
- Play soft music or have relaxing conversation to take their mind off not feeling well
- Keep a food diary on foods that may irritate them, which could signal problems such as digestive problems or irritable bowel syndrome to further discuss with a doctor
- Try to get them moving (light exercising, folding laundry, etc) to build up an appetite