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Why is My Loved One Barely Eating?

By: Susan Fisher and Tammy Adams

As we age, various factors can contribute to changes in our eating habits, potentially resulting in seniors not eating as well as they used to.

One prominent reason is physiological changes which occur with aging, including a decrease in appetite and changes in taste and smell perception. These changes can lead to a reduced desire for food and a decreased enjoyment of meals, making it difficult for seniors to maintain a healthy diet.

Seniors may experience medical conditions or take medications which affect their appetite or ability to eat. Additionally, certain medications can cause side effects such as nausea or dry mouth also contributing to loss of appetite. Chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, heart disease, or gastrointestinal disorders, can impact appetite and carry dietary restrictions.

Social and psychological factors can also play a significant role in seniors’ eating habits. Loss of a spouse or friend, retirement, or changes in living arrangements can lead to feelings of loneliness, depression, or anxiety which can impact appetite and motivation to cook or eat. Financial constraints, particularly for those on fixed incomes, or limited access to nutritious foods, especially for those who aren’t able to get to the grocery store, may hinder seniors’ ability to maintain a balanced diet.

Physical limitations, such as dental issues, difficulty chewing or swallowing can make it challenging for seniors to eat various foods. Additionally, mobility issues or cognitive decline may affect their ability to shop for groceries, prepare meals, or remember to eat regularly, further contributing to inadequate nutrition.

If you have a loved one who is struggling with their diet, some of these issues might play a big role in the reason why. Perhaps they need someone to pick up their groceries for them and/or prepare meals to put in the freezer. Perhaps their medications need to be looked at by their physician and adjusted, if they’re affecting their nutrition. Still, perhaps this is a sign of cognitive decline and a bigger issue which needs to be addressed.

Tammy and Susan run Silver Lights Senior Services, a family-owned and operated seniors’ homecare company, serving the City of Kawartha Lakes, Courtice, Bowmanville, Oshawa, Whitby, Port Perry and Uxbridge. An Adult Day Program for Dementia is located in Lindsay, ON. Find them on Facebook and Instagram or visit their website, at To book services call Tammy, at 705 308 1940 or to register for the Day Program call Susan, at 705 324 2911.

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