A healthy lifestyle for seniors requires a healthy, balanced diet. The problem, however, is that elderly people often refuse to eat — let alone eat healthily. Caregivers know too well how big of a struggle meal times are, with the elderly not showing any enthusiasm over the food they have diligently prepared or in worse instances, their loved one getting mad at them.
But why exactly do seniors say no to food? Here are some possible reasons and the ways you can deal with such problems:
They lose their sense of smell and taste
As people age, the body declines and the senses weaken. Regardless of the type of food, the sense of smell and taste are important, as it contributes to an increased appetite. If those are lost, then the feeling of hunger is affected. There will be no cravings to a particular food or drink and it would be difficult to enjoy a meal no matter how delicious it is.
What you should do then, according to experts in Davis County, is to add more flavorful ingredients to your loved one’s meals. You have to remember, however, to avoid (or at least maintain a low level of) salt and sugar. While these two are the most common ingredients for heightening flavor, they are unhealthy. Choose herbs, spices, and citrus extracts instead. Use different cooking techniques as well to bring out the mouthwatering aroma of food.
They do not want to eat alone
Meal times should be family times, but as life happens — when the kids move out of the house and get married or the spouse falls ill and passes away, dining can become a sad reminder of that happy past. This is especially true if an elderly is rarely visited.
An elderly loved one who lives alone may choose not to eat altogether. This is the reason many families encourage aging parents to move into a facility for assisted living that Davis County communities provide. These environments allow elderly people to socialize with other residents (their fellow elderly) and enjoy a fun company while eating.
If you are able to be with your aging parent only once or twice a week, they may be feeling isolated and depressed. Discuss assisted living with them, so you can solve this issue.
They experience oral health problems
It is likely that your loved one is having trouble chewing food because of dental problems. The size and shape of the mouth and jaws can change over time, so they might be suffering from ill-fitting dental appliances. Or they could have developed gum disease or cavities.
Take them to the dentist regularly to prevent these problems. It is also best to cut food in smaller pieces so it is easier to consume. You can also serve it in healthy sauces to further soften ingredients.
As elderly people age, their eating habits change. This could seriously affect their health. Know then the reasons they refuse to eat to address the root of the problem.