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A Healthy Appetite at Any Age

By Jennifer Bradley, Staff Writer

(Page 4 of 4)
 

Eat small portions. Snacking isnít just for kids. Many loved ones may not have the desire to eat three substantial meals each day. Itís perfectly acceptable and encouraged to eat when hungry. Fresh fruits, vegetables, crackers and cheese, yogurt, or a bowl of soup are all good options.

Count calories. Many will hear these words the day they start a new diet. For someone experiencing a loss of appetite and fearing malnutrition, itís the same concept, though the goal is to consume extra calories, not cut them! ďWhen youíre older, 70 or 80, thereís no such thing as bad food when youíre losing weight.Ē says Dr. Margaret-Mary Wilson in an MSNBC.com article. She teaches and researches geriatric medicine at Saint Louis University.

Nutritional supplements should be used with extreme caution, only at the recommendation of a physician. A loved one may not process Vitamin A, for example, as quickly as a younger person. It may cause more problems than solutions. However, a daily multi-vitamin, says the AARP, could be a benefit, as well as a zinc supplement. Talk to a doctor for advice on how to proceed with a vitamin regiment.

At any age exercise is important and itís easy to drift away from daily stretching as we age. But, itís just as important at 80 as at 8 years old. Moderate strength training will increase metabolism, thus appetite. Many public television stations offer daily stretching programs targeted specifically for an older audience.

One last topic regarding loss of appetite is one a caregiver may not realize is the underlying factor: money. Everyone knows the cost of food continues to rise, and the economy is hitting hard all around. A loved one on a fixed income is no exception. The money issue is even more pronounced in those who canít comprehend these price trends and why something costs ďso much.Ē Hence, they donít buy the product, and go without necessary nutrition. A touchy topic it is, but one a caregiver must be aware of.

A loss of appetite in a loved one can be a very simple problem as loneliness with a quick fix by offering companionship. It also can suggest a more complicated issue such as medication side effects, that require more creative solutions. As a caregiver, itís important to take notice when a loved one starts turning down their favorite bowl of ice cream.

 

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