How to Help When a Senior Refuses to Eat

Senior Refuses to Eat
Understanding the causes when a senior refuses to eat can help family caregivers get to the bottom of the issue.

After the indulgence of the holiday season, many of us decide to minimize calorie consumption. But when a senior refuses to eat altogether, or is making unbalanced or unhealthy dietary choices, it’s important to determine the reason associated with this behavior, and to know how to encourage them to get on track with healthier eating.

What Causes Changes in a Senior’s Eating Habits?

There are many key reasons a person may stop eating or start making unhealthy dietary choices – and ways you can help overcome them:

  • Problems with dental health. Talk to the dentist to see if dentures need to be refitted or if there are any other dental concerns that should be addressed. You can also provide foods that are softer and/or cut them into smaller pieces. Ground meat, lentils, and beans, for instance, are easier to chew than a steak or pork chop.
  • Low vision. If the senior struggles to see clearly, they may regard foods differently and lose interest in eating. Vision problems can also make it more difficult and even dangerous to prepare meals or go to the grocery store. Offer to help with shopping and meal prep (or let us help!) and serve foods that are brightly colored and contrasted to the colors of serving dishes, place mats, the tablecloth, etc. so they are more easily seen.
  • Loneliness. This is a common problem among older adults, and can make mealtime less enjoyable. Share meals whenever possible with a lonely senior family member, invite neighbors and friends to join them, or contact Home Sweet Home In-Home Care’s experts in Kalamazoo senior care and home care in other Michigan communities for a caregiving companion to assist.
  • Side effects from medications. Schedule an appointment with the doctor for a complete review of all medications being taken, and find out if one or more may be leading to a loss of appetite or bothersome gastrointestinal side effects. See if the medication can be changed to something more tolerable or if the amount can be adjusted.
  • Loss of taste or smell. Aging in general frequently causes a dulling of these senses, which may affect the enjoyment of eating. Try experimenting with more flavorful and aromatic spices and herbs when preparing meals, such as garlic, thyme, and ginger.

Home Sweet Home In-Home Care, a provider of Kalamazoo senior care, is here for older adults struggling to keep up with a balanced and healthy diet, for whatever reason. We can partner with you to ensure all the bases are covered in providing senior loved ones with every chance to once again enjoy meals and establish improved eating habits. Contact us at (866) 229-2505 to learn how we can help. For a full list of the communities we serve, visit our Locations page.

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