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How Appetite Changes with Age

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Seniors have a natural tendency to experience a decrease in appetite as they age. Because this decrease in appetite can affect a senior’s overall health and wellness, it’s important to identify underlying causes as soon as possible. This way, you can be sure that your aging parent or loved one is getting the right amount of vitamins and nutrients on a daily basis. Here are a just a few factors that can influence a senior or older adult’s appetite, presented by Jefferson County Home Care Assistance.

  • Hormonal Causes – Cholesystokinin is a hormone that is released into the bloodstream during eating that makes an individual feel full and satisfied. As a person ages, the levels of cholesystokinin rise and a feeling of satiety is experienced more quickly and results in a decreased consumption of food.
  • Oral Issues – Dental problems, such as ill-fitting dentures and periodontal disease, can make eating unpleasant and possibly painful. Make sure your aging parent or loved one visits their dentist on a regular basis and help with daily brushing and flossing. If you are unable to assist, consider help from a routine hourly caregiver in Jefferson County who can assist with personal care needs.
  • Decline in Senses – Elderly individuals also have a harder time tasting and smelling food as a natural result of the aging process. This can therefore leave them feeling unsatisfied or turned off by certain foods. To overcome this problem, family caregivers should look to add additional flavor to foods using spices and herbs.
  • Metabolism – Levels of exertion tend to be much lower in the older population, and the body’s metabolism adjusts by requiring fewer calories to maintain body functions and daily activities. When smaller portions of food are required, it is important that the food that is consumed is nutrient-dense.
  • Depression – Many seniors suffer from depression, and one of its side effects is a loss of appetite. Finding appropriate medical care can help relieve depression’s symptoms, which can include decreased hunger. Participating in social engagements where food is being served can serve a dual purpose to help elderly individuals by lifting their spirits and enjoying a meal in the company of others.
  • Medications – Most elderly individuals take regular medications to treat chronic conditions. Many times, pills and other treatments can cause oral changes that make food seem unpalatable. Other medications can also have side effects such as dry mouth and a metallic taste that cause a senior to shy away from eating.

If your aging parent or loved one has experienced a significant weight gain or loss in the past few months, it may be time to reach out for assistance. Home Care Assistance of Jefferson County is a leading provider of in-home senior care and our hourly and live-in caregivers are available to assist with a wide variety of tasks including nutritious meal preparation, feeding, exercise, personal care and so much more. To learn more about our flexible options for hourly and live-in home care in Jefferson County, call 303-987-5992 and speak to a friendly and knowledgeable Care Manager.