Millions of aging in place older Americans don’t get the daily nutrition their bodies so desperately need to stay healthy. And, one of the main reasons why is a loss of appetite. Unfortunately for many “appetite-challenged” at-home seniors, not taking in enough nutrients eventually starts threatening their freedom and independence.
If you’re currently caring for an elderly loved one who’s lost their appetite, here are 5 nutritious high-calorie foods that will also tantalize their taste buds.
Why Do Seniors Lose Their Appetite?
There are several possible reasons why your loved one has lost their appetite:
Health condition(s) – Cancer, thyroid problems, dental issues, dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease can all diminish a person’s appetite.
Medications – Some medications cause dry mouth, or leave a metallic taste, which keeps seniors from eating.
Lack of exercise – On the other hand, burning calories while exercising will stimulate one’s appetite.
Dehydration – Not taking in enough fluids can also reduce the desire for food.
Aging taste buds – With age, a person’s taste buds become less responsive to flavors.
Lacking a routine – Not having a schedule with set mealtimes every day can make a person feel mentally unprepared to eat.
Swallowing difficulties – Medical conditions like a stroke, dementia, multiple sclerosis (MS) or Parkinson’s disease can make it harder to swallow food.
Unpleasant memories – Notably for seniors who’ve recently lost a spouse, mealtime can bring up unpleasant memories.
Smell sensitivities – For some, the odor of certain foods can make them nauseous.
Depression or loneliness – Exacerbated by eating alone, loneliness and depression can suppress a person’s appetite.
When your loved one has lost their appetite, take them to the doctor to identify the underlying problem(s). No matter what is causing them to be appetite challenged, you’ll need to find some tasty foods that will provide the daily nutrition their body so desperately needs.
5 Tasty and Nutritious Foods for Seniors
Consult a licensed dietician or nutritionist and then compile a list of some high-calorie foods that are easy to prepare, tantalizing for the taste buds, and that also provide essential vitamins and minerals.
Here are 5 foods that should make your list:
If you thought peanut butter was only for kids, think again. It’s rich in protein and good fats, but low in bad cholesterol. Studies have linked peanut butter to benefits like fat burning, muscle mass gain and improved cardiovascular health. At 100 calories per tablespoon, it’s a tasty and nutritious food that will keep the body fueled.
This versatile fruit can be used to jazz up a sandwich or salad, or to make some delicious guacamole. Avocados are high in fiber, lutein, potassium, magnesium, folic acid, and Vitamins B6, C and E. They also contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fats that help lower bad (LDL) cholesterol. And, one medium avocado packs about 275 calories.
Fresh bananas make a nutritious snack that will keep your senior satisfied, and they’re rich in fiber, riboflavin, thiamine, niacin, potassium, and Vitamins B6 and A. For those with poor dentition or swallowing difficulties, a banana shake works well. A large banana also has about 120 calories, which will help give your loved one’s body the energy it needs.
Raw or toasted pistachios, hazelnuts, walnuts and peanuts help control blood glucose and lipid levels. Nuts are also very high in protein and fiber, and one ounce of these foods will provide your senior with approximately 160 to 190 much-needed calories.
Because it comes from whole wheat and compressed nuts, granola that’s sweetened with honey, agave nectar, sugar or molasses is rich in essential oils and fiber. Flavor the granola with a little yogurt to create a full meal that will provide approximately 600 calories towards your senior’s minimum daily requirements.
In-Home Assistance for Appetite-Challenged Seniors
Coming up with nutritious and delicious meal ideas for an appetite-challenged senior can be frustrating and time consuming. When you need some meal planning assistance, call Cranberry Home Care. As a family owned and operated agency, our highly trained and carefully screened aides have the creative and nutritious meal ideas your senior needs to keep them aging comfortably in place right where they want to be.
In addition to food shopping and meals, our fully licensed services include light housekeeping, personal hygiene, medication reminders, companionship and transportation. And, all our reliable home care amenities can be individually tailored in an affordable package that’ll put your mind at ease. To learn more about Cranberry Home Care, or to schedule a FREE, in-home consultation for a senior in Southeastern, MA, today, please visit: www.cranberryhomecare.com now!