It can be common for some older adults refuse to eat or to lose their appetite but it can still be concerning and stressful to see a loved one not eating or eating less. Once medical or dental issues have been ruled out, you could try some of the following suggestions to get seniors with no appetite to eat.
1. Have a regular meal and snack schedule
Regular routines help stimulate the body to expect to eat at those times.
2. Serve smaller portions of high nutrient foods
Smaller portions appear less intimidating than a large or full plate. You can also increase the healthy calories in those servings by adding food such as:
- Finely chopped meat, cheese, egg
- Olive oil
- Peanut or other nut butters
- Soft cheeses like ricotta or mascarpone
Some older adults get frustrated or have difficulty using utensils and as a result, they refuse to eat. If that it’s happening for some of your loved ones, you can try some of these without utensils:
- Chicken strips or nuggets
- Fish sticks
- Steamed or raw veggies like carrots, broccoli, bell pepper strips, or cucumber pieces
If your loved one prefers to eat snacks instead of full meals, don’t worry about it. You can still keep them healthy by trying some of these options.
- Cheese sticks or string cheese
- Full-fat yogurt
- Diced fruit, fresh or packaged
- Peanut butter and crackers
- Cheese and crackers
- Full-fat cottage cheese
- Whole chocolate milk
If older adults find chewing to be tiring or difficult, or to increase the total calorie intake, you can consider serving more liquid foods such as:
- Nutritious soups – enhanced with cream, olive oil, or pureed meats and veggies
- Healthy smoothies – add bananas, fruit, full-fat yogurt, or veggies like carrots and spinach
- Hot cocoa
- Full-fat milk
- Milkshakes – good quality ice cream is better than eating nothing!
- Warning: This is not a solution for those with medical issues such as dysphagia (swallowing problems).
6. Keep track of what works
In the end, the best advice is to take notes about which are the best options, identify what they don’t like and what might be the best choice of food for them. Track what is the best time for him/her to eat and keep experimenting to try to find what works best.
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Wherever their home may be, our caregivers can help keep your loved ones safe. Call our local Toronto office at (647) 793-2525 to learn how elderly care services can assist your family.