Dec 31, 2015 - 09:08 AM
This is a common concern among adult children of elderly parents. Appetite can decrease in seniors for a variety of reasons – metabolism can slow down, medications may affect appetite, gastrointestinal issues (like constipation) or dental changes may play a role. The first thing to do is to make sure there isn’t a serious reason why your mom’s appetite is decreasing. You said her last checkup was normal, but be aware that conditions like depression can affect appetite as well so be sure you are looking beyond the physical. Always bring up any concerns you have with your mom’s doctor – you can start with her primary care doctor.
Once you’ve done that, there are some things you can do to stimulate your mom to eat more and be sure she’s getting the nutrients she needs. Don’t give her bigger portions, but instead make sure what she’s eating is nutrient-dense. Peanut butter, avocado, olive oil, nuts, seeds, potatoes and egg yolks are some examples of nutrient-dense foods. Homemade shakes that are calorie-rich are another great way to get the nutrients in. Keeping to a regular meal and snack schedule and avoiding eating alone can also help her to eat more. Eating is a social activity and sometimes without that social interaction the joy of eating a meal can be lost over time. Also, some seniors don’t eat as much because they lack the energy or ability to cook for themselves anymore, so you can think about making sure she’s got an easy way to get food.