5 Reasons Why Elderly Experience Loss Of Appetite & Ways To Resolve It

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Sitting at the kitchen table with your mother is a place that holds a special place in your heart. You have had countless discussions seated in these chairs. As you were growing up, it was where you could talk about anything and without judgment. Your mother would patiently listen and then ask you if you had eaten anything yet. The memories make you smile, but now the roles are reversed. Sitting across from you, your mother looks frail, and her words come out more slowly than in years past.

Your mother is not the same robust woman she used to be. Is her appetite mimicking her slower pace? Placing your hand on top of hers and giving it a gentle squeeze, you can’t help but notice the texture of her skin and how fragile she feels. You offer to make her a plate of food, but she brushes you off and says she’ll eat later. A voice in the back of your mind questions if this is true, and you begin to wonder how you can help.

As our senior relatives grow older, changes in appetite happen for many different reasons. From medications to dental discomfort, find out what is causing a loss of appetite in older family members in your life.

MORE TO EXPLORE: Why Isn’t Mom Eating? 4 Common Senior Eating Problems And How To Resolve Them


Loss Of Appetite In Seniors – Reasons

A loss of appetite causes warning bells for a reason but figuring out which one can be tricky. Your parents might feel embarrassed and be hesitant to tell you something is going on. Find out how you can get your relative’s appetite back up with these helpful suggestions.


Have You Checked Their Medication?

Experiencing a loss of appetite in older family members is also a common side effect of multiple medications. Ask your parents to review their medications with their doctor and for more future transparency with any conditions.


Are They Doing Regular Exercise?

The quickest way to build or lose your appetite correlates to how much movement or exercise your relatives are doing. If they have recently undergone an injury or are beginning to experience changes in mobility, this will impact their hunger.


Are They Experiencing Denture Discomfort?

As we get older, we can experience different issues with our mouths, including higher sensitivity or being fitted with dentures. If your relatives have recently started wearing dentures, they may still be learning how to chew or may not be wearing the dentures correctly.


Have They Experienced A Loss Of Taste?

Experiencing a taste disorder or complete loss can sometimes go undiagnosed among our senior relatives. In fact, due to their age, many seniors’ questions about their changing taste buds will go unheard of by their doctors. If your relatives have experienced a sudden loss of appetite, it could be due to zinc deficiency or gum disease.


Do They Have A Regular Routine?

A sudden loss of appetite in older family members may also result from a loss of routine. If they have recently retired or drastically changed their schedule, they might be depressed or unmotivated towards meals. Ask questions about what they are doing with their time or if they would like to start a new project to adjust their lifestyle.


Loss Of Appetite In Seniors – Solutions

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Finding out how to fix the loss of appetite starts with one conversation. Still, each senior member of our community requires different solutions. Since a loss of appetite might be a symptom of emotional, mental, or physical issues, each requires a different approach.


Emotional Loss Of Appetite In Seniors

If your relative has experienced the death of a spouse, close friend, or pet, a loss of appetite is a common symptom of grief. You might feel helpless and find solace in encouraging them to eat, but it’s best to focus on their healing.


Mental Loss Of Appetite In Seniors

A loss of appetite can also be a symptom of Alzheimer’s. The loss of appetite is not a confirmed diagnosis. Older adults with Alzheimer’s or Dementia may experience a loss of appetite due to changing taste buds and the difference in flavor preferences.


Physical Loss Of Appetite In Seniors

The easiest way to solve a physical loss of appetite is to check your relatives’ dental health and daily exercise routine. If they have experienced a recent injury, work with them to adjust and find different ways of movement. Daily exercise will increase appetite, dopamine, and brain activity.

MORE TO EXPLORE: The Benefits Of An Intentionally-Designed Memory Care Program


The 12 Oaks Approach

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In a 12 Oaks managed community, we offer a variety of activities that stimulate your beloved family members’ brains and bodies. From exercise classes to different weekly workshops, our month-long social calendar is available for all family members to view ahead of time. We believe in a holistic approach and learning what your relatives enjoy. When we know their routine and preferences, we can better serve them and more quickly identify any potential issues.

Our 12 Oaks-managed communities also have a nutritionist that designs our menus. These menus will be full of healthy and flavorful meals that encourage even the pickiest eaters to only leave behind crumbs. Within any of our 12 Oaks managed community, our residents and their families are part of our extended family. Joining our family will give you a foundation of support while making your relatives comfortable in the next stage of life.


If you have questions about loss of appetite in seniors or any conditions discussed here, connect with us and learn more.

At 12 Oaks, our team of caring professionals is dedicated to keeping residents safe, engaged, and connected to their families and friends while still leading fulfilling lives. There’s no better place to enjoy the encore season of life than at a 12 Oaks community. For questions or to schedule a visit, please don’t hesitate to contact us.



Searching for senior living help? At 12 Oaks Senior Living, we would love to learn more about your unique needs and the opportunity we may have to help you meet them. Our blog is one of the valuable resources we provide to inform and encourage seniors to lead fulfilling and thriving lives.

Contact us today to schedule a virtual tour.



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