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Maintaining a healthy weight is important at every age. It helps prevent heart disease, builds core strength, maintains joint health, and more. While many people associate weight management with losing weight, for some seniors it can actually mean putting on a few pounds.
Medications can cause a loss of appetite, as can treatments like chemotherapy. An adult with dementia may simply lose interest in food. It might not seem like a big problem, but it really can be.
According to an article published in the November 1994 issue of the Journal of Geriatric Internal Medicine, nursing home patients who lost just 10 percent of their body weight had a significantly higher mortality rate in the six months following their weight loss. This was true for all patients, regardless of their diagnosis or cause of death.
If an older adult in your life has lost interest in eating, here are a few tactics to consider, including aromatherapy.
Aromatherapy and Appetite Stimulation
Think about the smells you associate with mealtimes. It might be a roast in the oven or a loaf of bread. The thought might even make your mouth water.
If an older adult in your family is experiencing a loss of appetite, try to recreate a few of their favorite meals from childhood or young adulthood. Some families have found the smell of home-cooked meals has aromatherapy benefits that may entice a senior loved one to eat.
Memory care communities and cancer treatment centers often turn to aromatherapy to help manage appetite. You can easily adopt this practice at home using an inexpensive essential oil diffuser set.
A few scents to try are:
If you or your older loved one is reluctant to try aromatherapy, there are other steps you can take to stimulate appetite.
Other Options for Stimulating a Senior’s Appetite
Dining at Sunrise Senior Living
At Sunrise communities, we know how important a well-balanced diet is to healthy aging. Nutritious, delicious meals featuring locally sourced foods are prepared by our culinary teams every day. And, our Fortified Foods program uses real, homemade food items with increased levels of protein and calories to help some residents maintain a healthy weight.
We invite you and your senior loved one to join us for a meal at your convenience. Call the Sunrise community nearest you to schedule a tour today!