Loss of appetite in elderly,what can be done to increase appetite

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  1. profile image44
    rebeccareaumeposted 8 years ago

    Loss of appetite in elderly,what can be done to increase appetite

    81 yr old mother, fell and broker her hip, she is in a care facility, she is not eating, is there anything we can ask for that will help stimulate her appetite. The smell of food is making her nausaus, she only weights 80lbs if that. She will take a few sips of ensure here and there.

  2. SimeyC profile image96
    SimeyCposted 8 years ago

    From my experience from several elderly people we've taken care of, there's nothing you can do. The only thing I can suggest is to find things she's fond of and try and remind her how fond she is of them.

    My experience was that my mother in law loved chocolate, so she ate all sorts of chocolate related products - as she got older and her appetite reduced we were able to get her to drink chocolate shakes, especially the ones with added vitamins.

    The appetite could come back on its own, but you have to do the best you can and not blame yourself for her loss of desire to eat.

  3. G.L.A. profile image84
    G.L.A.posted 8 years ago

    I agree with simeyC, but let me add this.. I cared for my mother 24/7 for the last three years of her life until she died at the age of 93. During those three years, she also suffered appetite loss, and I struggled to keep her weight above 100 lbs, but found that several tiny meals daily did the trick.. half slice of toast, 1/2 cup soup, 1/4 cup applesauce,  1/2 ounce of meat.. you get the picture.. when I say tiny, I mean tiny, and when I say several, I mean up to 10 times a day.

    1. BarbRad profile image87
      BarbRadposted 22 months agoin reply to this

      That is a good idea. Sometimes my mom was overwhelmed if there was too much on her plate.

  4. Sue Adams profile image96
    Sue Adamsposted 8 years ago

    My grandma is 97 and still going strong on all fronts. She still walks to the village almost every day. Her weight is normal.
    Some very old people are not very active so they don't need a lot of food. However, if too much weight loss affects performance and it bothers the old person (as opposed to bothering her carers), then one way of gaining appetite is to spend time outdoors as much as possible and try to be more physically active. Clean fresh air with as much physical activity as possible will boost appetite and health.
    Many old people "give up" and sit there all day just waiting for death. When an old animal has had enough of life it stops eating. Sometimes it's a good idea to just allow nature to take its course.

  5. Levertis Steele profile image84
    Levertis Steeleposted 5 years ago

    Sometimes depression or certain illnesses cause a loss of appetite. Ask her medical team for advice. She is in a care facility and surrounded by the experts who should know her problems. They are the ones to treat her. I would arrange to have a conference with them to understand what is happening.

    Suggestions for Less Severe Cases of Elderly in Family Care

    Supply them with healthful food that they request. Try to keep a variety of healthful food that they will eat. Make the food tasty without going against their dietary plan. If they insist on oil in their vegetables, ask their doctor about Extra-Virgin Olive Oil. If it can be used, let them see you add the recommended amount in their vegetables. Brush their teeth, gums, and tongue regularly with a soft brush; and keep dental and other medical appointments. Sometimes sore gums or toothaches could be the problem that may not be known when the elderly person cannot communicate well. Look for mouth ulcers and tender gums. Bacteria and food buildup may cover taste buds and prevent tasting food. We usually do not eat what we cannot taste. Keep lips moisturized to prevent dry, cracked lips that could sting while eating. Look for signs of sore throat, constipation, or diarrhea. Keep them hydrated, and, occasionally, add a little real lemon juice or honey to their water to help awaken their taste buds. When possible, ask them about their well-being, and listen to what they may not say. Sometimes, the elderly may feel that they are a burden to others and may hide their problems. Make them feel comfortable and loved by exercising patience and good, personal care.

    All of these problems and more could hinder a good appetite.

  6. liesl5858 profile image87
    liesl5858posted 4 years ago

    Try and encourage your Mum to eat and drink as much as possible by providing the food and drinks that she use to like. If she like soup that is even better as soups are full of good nutrients especially if they are home made and it is so easy to prepare(try and use the organic ones if possible). If you give her food try and not fill up the plate so much as this will put her off eating. Just put enough food on the plate if possible as elderly people's appetite tend to lessen with age and it does not look appetising if the plate is really full and also elderly people don't want to waste food. I hope this helps.

  7. lostohanababy profile image57
    lostohanababyposted 4 years ago

    Don't demand her to eat. Or pressure her in any way.  Try talking to her.  Maybe she will tell you, why she's not eating.  Maybe she is adjusting to having the care of her by strangers.  She realizes she can no longer take care of herself, and may be its devastating for these new changes taking place in her life.  Be patient with her.  Ask her what types of foods she generally likes to eat, when she was at home.  Then maybe you can talk with the facility Dietician and something a little better in her daily diet and meals can be worked to be more satisfying to her.  I wish her a speedy recovery!

  8. SteveWilson79 profile image59
    SteveWilson79posted 4 years ago

    To be brutally honest, cannabis. It will increase a person's appetite and should be taken seriously as a remedy for countless ailments. Sadly, it isn't.

  9. profile image0
    Diana Abrahamsonposted 2 years ago


    You can purchase a meal supplement for additional nutrition. It would only be used in conjunction with a meal not replace it. The healthier you become the appetite should increase. If the person is depressed, that can also affect the appetite.

  10. BarbRad profile image87
    BarbRadposted 22 months ago

    Pain can cause one to be nauseous. So can the drugs one takes for the pain. When my mom complained she had no appetite at age 88, the  doctor said not to pressure her to eat. Yet we went out to a buffet one night with friends and she ate a lot more than usual and was also vivacious. Perhaps just getting out with people helped.

    Perhaps your mother is just lonely. A friend's husband is in a care facility after having had three strokes. She spends time there with him every day to help him eat and give him company -- even though he can't talk to her. She was not impressed with the care he was getting. Feeling neglected might also affect the appetite.

    On the other hand, when Mom went into the ER a couple of months after we went to the buffet because she was having trouble breathing, I mentioned she'd also complained of a stomach ache. They did a scan and found a tumor the size of a grapefruit. Now we know why she wasn't hungry. Cancer had already spread to her lungs, thus the breathing problem. I would see if there's a physical problem the doctors haven't found to explain the lack of appetite. I suspect my Mom's doctor had a hunch it was cancer, knew it was probably inoperable at her age, and just didn't put her through the pain of tests and possible treatments at her age.


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