Emory University: "Cognitive Skills & Normal Aging"<br>CDC: "Oral Health for Older Americans"<br>National Center for Biotechnology Information: "Patient Safety and Quality: An Evidence-Based Handbook for Nurses," "Malnutrition and Aging"<br>National Institute on Aging: "Encouraging eating: Advice for at-home dementia caregivers"
Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD MPH: Good nutrition can make a major difference in how older people feel.Here are tips on providing healthy, tasty food. Even for someone with a low appetite.There are a lot of reasons a person may have a low appetite.Seniors that are less active may not build up the appetite they used to have.Medical issues that impact the gut and digestive tract can change eating patterns.Poor dental and oral health can impact chewing and enjoying eating food.Medication side effects can change your sense of smell and taste.Depression and loneliness can also contribute to less eating.
Carolyn Coles, LPN: Just make it fun.
Susan Boyette, CNA: Always pick out a favorite food for themand give them a reward for eating the food they don’t like.You want to provide foods that are tasty and easy to chew.Favorite recipes like chicken for instance.Take the meat off the bone so it can be picked up easily to eat.
Carolyn Coles, LPN: Allow them to eat what they want.My biggest thing I like to do is the milk shakes, ice cream… make a shake… finger foods.If they love peanut butter and jelly sandwich make it simple for them at that point.When the appetite decrease, make it fun for them.Let them have what they want.
Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD MPH: Milkshakes and smoothies can be a good option to get a variety of nutrients in.But make sure they don’t disrupt your seniors appetite at meal time.Try them as a snack after lunch or dinner.And make sure they’re drinking water throughout the day.
Susan Boyette, CNA: I try to make it very interesting. I like to change up
Carolyn Coles, LPN: If they don’t want to eat, then you have to try figure out something.If it’s no more than apple sauce, you do it.So if they’re fighting you every step of the way,just leave it alone and just come back and try it another time and another time and another timeThere are a lot of things you can do as a caregiver to encourage a senior to eat more.But if you’re worried low appetite is leading to malnutrition and weight loss,alert their doctors and stay engaged with themas you sort through the multiple issues that can lead to decreased eating.