There are many, many reasons why a senior may lose the desire to eat. Perhaps they are having trouble with their dentures. Maybe it is because of a medical condition. Maybe it is a side effect of the medication they take for said medical condition.
Or maybe it is depression.
Depression is a serious problem among senior citizens. At this stage in life, there are many things to get down about: the loss of a loved one, the loss of one’s freedom, the fact that elderly care must be provided for them now in order for them to do the things that used to be so simple and easy to do. The list is endless.
If you or the person providing elderly care for an aging loved one has noticed that your loved one is losing weight, depression-based loss of appetite may be the culprit.
Think about it: when you are feeling sad and discouraged, do you feel like eating? (Eating something other than Rocky Road ice cream, to be clear). The answer is most likely no. And the same is true for your loved one.
Perhaps they just don’t feel like eating, because they are so bogged down by the thoughts running around in their heads. Maybe they feel tired, discouraged, or disillusioned. These things can weight heavy on the mind and body, and this can make one less eager to eat anything. They may eat only out of the necessity of staying alive, but they get no enjoyment out of it.
This could be remedied by involving your loved one in the meal planning, or making a special meal that is more interesting to eat.
The former could help your loved one feel more involved in the decision-making in the household, and can make them feel more like an important part of the family, which could, in turn, lessen their depression. The latter could help to entice them to eat more, if it is something unusual or different. No one likes to eat the same old things day in and day out, so provide some variety whenever possible.
Another way that severe depression can impact appetite is if the depressed person just has no will to live, or to do the things that keep them alive.
Why eat when it will only prolong one’s suffering? This is a very serious problem that enticing meals might not be enough to fix, and your loved one should see a therapist or a medical professional. It is important to find out what is making them depressed, and how they can start to feel better.
Unfortunately, eating less or less foods that are good for you only serves to make one want to eat even less. If your loved one has lost their appetite due to depression, you first need to find out what is causing the depression, and treat that. Only then will these other methods be effective, and only then will they get their appetite back.