It’s not easy to get your elderly loved ones to eat when they have a loss of appetite. Most importantly, you need to first identify if their lack of appetite is due to a health condition, side effects from medication, or dental issues. If none of these are the root causes, then you could try different ways to increase their food intake. It may be difficult at the beginning but as long as you don’t give up, you’ll be able to find the best way to get your elderly loved ones to eat more.
A Relaxed and Pleasant Dining Atmosphere
Mealtimes shouldn’t be stressful. The ambiance, food, and music can make a difference to your elderly parents’ dining experience. Try playing their favorite music, prepare food that they’ve enjoyed in the past and put up some nice decorations. Are your elderly parents eating alone most of the time? Perhaps you and your siblings are busy and don’t have a lot of time to spend with them. They might feel lonely or depressed if there’s nobody to accompany them during mealtimes. Whenever you can, spend time with them at the dining table. Chat about light-hearted topics or bring grandchildren along to delight them.
Enhance the Flavors
Your elderly parents’ taste buds might become less sensitive with age. Their poor appetite might be due to bland foods. You can try to add more seasonings or spices to enhance the flavors of the dishes you’re cooking. Check with them on the taste of the food and see if you’ve got it right.
Use Alcohol to Stimulate their Appetite
A tiny glass of wine can work wonders to stimulate your elderly parents’ appetite. But first, you should check that the consumption of alcohol will not worsen their health condition or interfere with any medication they are taking. Seek medical advice from your doctor if you’re unsure.
Let Them Decide on the Food
Involve your parents in the meal planning process before you start cooking. Do they like the ingredients? What would they like to add? Give them choices and take note of their preferences. Their appetite might return when they get to eat food that they like.
Serve Food at Different Temperatures
Perhaps the dish was served too hot or too cold. It’s never easy to guess what your parents’ preferences are. Keep experimenting with different temperatures to see what they like.
Seize Those Hungry Moments
When your elderly parents ask if there is any more food, it’s time to serve them a larger portion. They are likely to eat more when they’re hungry so this is a good time to increase their intake. No matter what time of day it is, make use of the chance to serve them a healthy, nutrient-rich meal.
Restrict Liquids During Meals
Staying hydrated is important to keep your body functioning properly. However, too much liquid can cause your elderly parents to feel bloated before they even finish their meal. Keep beverages towards the end of the meal so your parents won’t feel full in the middle of eating their main course.