Loss of appetite is a common issue among elderly adults, but it can cause serious problems.
If your senior is not eating enough, they may not be giving their body the nutrients it needs to stay strong and healthy, potentially making them more vulnerable to issues such as illness, infection, and even injury.
As a family caregiver, it is extremely important for you to not only recognize that your aging parent is not eating enough but to get to the root of the problem and figure out why. This enables you to make modifications to their care routine and their daily lifestyle that will help them to easily address these issues and manage them so they can improve their appetite and get the nutrients they need. While there are many potential issues that can lead to appetite loss, one common problem is dental health issues. If these are the cause of your senior’s appetite loss, addressing them effectively can help your parent avoid serious pain and discomfort, and also get the nutrition they need as they age in place.
Some signs it could be dental health issues that are the cause of your senior’s appetite loss include:
- Complaints about aching teeth
- Seeing them hold their mouth or jaw frequently, especially when they are eating
- Biting down on a napkin on a particular area of the mouth.
- Rinsing one side of the mouth with water during eating.
- Avoiding chewing on one side of the mouth or the other.
- Avoiding food that is very cold or very hot, which can trigger pain reactions to sensitive teeth.
- Avoiding very hard or crunchy foods, which can be difficult to chew for a senior who has painful or weakened teeth.
- Avoiding very sweet foods they usually love, which can trigger pain reactions in sensitive teeth or teeth that are decayed or damaged.
- Signs of blood when biting food.
- Brushing too softly or trying to avoid brushing particular areas of the mouth.
- Brushing areas of the mouth excessively which can relieve pain from exposure to sugar.
Elder care can be a fantastic way to help your aging parent maintain good dental health as they age in place.
Particularly if your elderly adult struggles with challenges that keep them from being able to follow through with these personal care tasks, such as cognitive functioning decline or arthritis, an elderly home care services provider can help them to manage these challenges effectively.
For example, a senior with cognitive function decline may need to be reminded to take care of their teeth, or modeled good behaviors to keep their mouths healthier. This can help them to avoid complications including pain, tooth decay, and infection, and enjoy an overall healthier lifestyle.