Aging is an inevitable aspect of life, and with aging comes a slew of bodily changes, one of which is a change in appetite. While one might think that a reduced appetite indicates a serious health issue, that is more often than not, untrue. As the elderly are not as physically active as younger people, they naturally do not need as many calories for their daily activities compared to their younger days and hence it is only natural to experience a loss in appetite.
Nevertheless, regardless of whether a person’s reduced appetite is caused by an underlying health condition, it is of paramount importance that he or she receives enough nutrients, as not doing so can lead to further bodily complications. However, that is easier said than done. How then, as a caregiver, do you ensure that your loved one gets the nutrients they need? Read on to find out more about how to increase appetite in elderly folks.
Physical activity burns calories, and you will need to eat in order to replenish the lost calories. Exercising then is one of the best ways to stimulate appetite. Healthcare professionals generally recommend twenty minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day to maintain one’s fitness, and by extension, one’s appetite.
Regular Meal Schedule
Instead of eating at irregular intervals, sticking to a regular eating schedule allows your loved one’s body to acclimatize to when the next meal would be. This is especially important if they are suffering from dementia or other memory-related issues, as the last thing they need is an unorganized and spontaneous schedule.
Get Enough Sleep
Getting sufficient sleep is also important to stimulating appetite. Insomnia can cause negative changes, both physically and mentally. A lack of rest leads to vastly reduced energy levels, and hence they would not require as much food for their daily sustenance. Insomnia also results in negative mood changes which inadvertently affect one’s appetite.
Eating with Others
Oftentimes, the elderly often have little to no appetite as they are eating alone, rather than with friends or family. Dining is supposed to be a social activity, yet there remains a significant number of elders who have their meals alone as they are living a solitary, isolated lifestyle.
Having meals with your loved ones, which instills a sense of acceptance, belonging, and love can often stimulate their appetite. Most elderly would love nothing more than having a lovely dinner with their grandchildren, and the adult children should facilitate such dinner sessions as often as possible to maintain their loved ones’ appetite. A catch-up session over a meal with friends to reminisce about the past is another favorite pastime, and the elderly are encouraged to constantly keep in touch with their friends and lead an active social life.
At Discovery Village At Twin Creeks, we understand the benefits brought about by active socialization for residents, which is why we have a full calendar of activities and events, providing plenty of opportunities for all residents to forge long-lasting friendships with their fellow residents.