As we age, our body metabolism changes, and so do our dietary intake and habits. Physiological, psychological, and lifestyle changes during aging can lead to appetite loss in the elderly, known as ‘anorexia of aging’. It may also occur due to underlying medical conditions or the side effect of medications. Family members and oldage service providers often find themselves combating this issue.
To help you figure out why appetite loss in the elderly happens, we explain some reasons that could interfere with your loved one’s appetite. Since long-term appetite loss can increase the risk of illness and other complications, it is necessary to seek geriatric care help.
Physical Conditions: Loss of appetite in the elderly often stems from the weakening of mouth and jaw muscles. These can make chewing and swallowing difficult for the elderly, making them reluctant to eat. Also, some elderly may experience an impaired sense of smell and taste with aging, which makes the food less appetizing. Other physical conditions that contribute to appetite loss in the elderly are:
- Changes to digestive systems
- Hormonal imbalances
- Chronic pain conditions
Inactivity: With aging, the body's metabolism slows down, and so do the active hours. Physical inactivity reduces the requirement of calories. This, in turn, reduces the appetite, as more than often, older adults embrace a sedentary lifestyle. Fitness plays an important role in geriatric care, and old age service providers can help maintain a safe and consistent workout regime.
Diabetic related: As a general rule, diabetes does not cause loss of appetite, but people with diabetes experience loss of appetite for various reasons related to it.
- High Blood sugar: High blood sugar can lead to gastroparesis, a condition in which food moves too slowly through the digestive tract due to damaged nerves. Diabetes is the most common known cause of gastroparesis which reduces the appetite
- Depression: Older adults with diabetes are at a greater risk for depression which may cause loss of appetite. Anxiety, sorrow, loneliness, and social isolation tend to induce decreased appetite. It is more common in the elderly with long-term or chronic health conditions.
Memory Problems: Appetite loss has also been linked to Alzheimer's Disease or other forms of dementia (.An elderly with dementia may forget how to chew and swallow or may be distracted by the environment. Regular use of psychotropic drugs or changes in dosage can result in appetite changes. As a result, malnutrition is common amongst dementia patients. Trained caregivers can provide expertise and additional support to encourage your loved one to eat well.
Loss of independence: Aging brings a curb on food items high in salt, sugar, fats, and calories. An elderly’s dietary requirements are taken care of by the family members or caregivers, causing a feeling of less independence. Sometimes, being unable to choose what to eat makes them not want to eat at all.
senOcare’s personalised eldercare services in India is designed to promote happy and healthy aging with focus on cooking and feeding nutrient meals, regular exercise, and other important lifestyle factors. Call us today at +91 8800 003 046 or email us at [email protected] for round-the-clock services for elders in India.