Getting proper nutrition often becomes harder with age because of problems such as loss of appetite or difficulties chewing or swallowing food. That’s why it’s so important to talk to your doctor about nutrition. Here are questions you may want to ask:
"I'm sorry, but there's nothing more we can do."
No patient wants to hear that. No doctor wants to say it. And with good reason: It isn't true.
It is true that in the course of many illnesses, cure ceases to be an option.
But no hope of a sure cure does not mean no hope at all. It certainly does not mean there is nothing more to be done.
When you receive the information that your illness is serious, a palliative care team can help you handle the news and cope with the many questions and challenges...
How do I know if I’m getting all the nutrition I need?
Surveys show that many Americans, and especially older Americans, aren’t getting all the nutrition they need for optimal health.
Surprisingly, even many people who are overweight fall short on vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Sure, they get plenty of calories, but those calories may have little nutritional value. Unfortunately, chronic nutrient deficiencies may occur before any symptoms show up.
Do any of the treatments I’m taking get in the way of absorbing nutrients I need?
A variety of treatments can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. These include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and medications.
I’m not very hungry when I know it’s time to eat. Is that normal for someone my age?
There are many reasons why older adults often don’t have a powerful appetite. Because they are usually less active than younger people, their bodies require fewer calories. And, declining sensitivity of taste buds may mean that food just doesn’t have as much appeal as it once did.
However, significant loss of appetite or weight loss can also be a sign of depression or other serious health problems. Tell your doctor if you notice a change in your appetite or unintended weight loss.