As we age, our appetites change. This is part of the natural process, as we become less active, we need less fuel, and as a result, the body demands less food. However, this can be a problem, as we still need to obtain the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to maintain health from this reduced food intake.
The problem is, if the elderly simply eat less of their normal diet, they do not get the nutrients needed to stay healthy, and that can have several long-term effects. It can lead to a lack of energy for even the smallest of tasks, leaving the patient lethargic and withdrawn. This on its own can lead to significant issues, however, that is not the only problem associated with poor diet resulting from appetite loss.
Weight loss will eventually begin to affect muscles, hastening decay which not only reduces the ability to be active but ultimately weakens the body to the extent that it becomes more vulnerable to disease. It is a downward spiral that can lead to other medical problems, and significantly reduces the quality of life, however, reduced appetite does not have to be this way.
There are several measures available to combat the issues associated with lowered appetite, and they fall into two categories:
First, focus on restoring appetite to overcome those nutritional deficiencies. Eating multiple smaller meals during the day, rather than three bigger ones, can help maintain the right intake level of nutrients and vitamins. With as many as six small meals, the patient can take in the food they need without ever feeling too full, and this is a good option to try out. Varying the diet through these smaller meals keeps food interesting and can provide a broader nutrient intake, accomplishing two tasks with one solution. In addition, appetite boosters can help retain the desire for meals. Usually found in the form of supplement capsules or tablets, they are another option to maintain food intake levels.
Supplements, such as vitamin and nutrient-packed tablets and drinks can ensure the body receives everything it needs even if the diet is not ideal. This is especially important for minerals such as potassium, zinc, and iron. Regular supplements will help maintain health and keep the body functioning properly, and there are a few options here too. Some prefer to choose a range of supplements that between them include the important ingredients the patient may be missing out on, but a constant flow of supplements to take can become irritating and patients can quickly grow to resent the process. To avoid this, there are several supplements designed specifically for the aging body that include several important minerals and nutrients in one, providing a better experience for the patient.
Through these methods and supplements, we can help maintain healthy food intake and quality of life for patients. Between 12% and 50% of elderly individuals who live at home become malnourished. Our team of experienced in-home care professionals can help your aging loved one live at home as long as possible and ensure your loved one takes the proper supplements and eats a healthy diet. We also provide necessary non-medical care such as meal prep, toilet assistance, running errands (such as visits to the pharmacy), and general companionship.
To learn more about all the services we provide seniors aging in place in Texas, contact Second Home Care today to schedule your in-home consultation. Call (972) 347-0700 today.