We will all experience the changes that come with getting older. This becomes more evident as we get into our twilight years. We become slower, more prone to illnesses, and no longer enjoy things we used to. For many of us, there are parts of our lives that begin to change, such as becoming more forgetful and prone to falls and other injuries. However, one thing we often don’t think about is our eating habits.
It can be entirely jarring for us when we are used to having a healthy appetite only to find that our eating habits have completely changed, and either we aren’t as hungry as we used to be, we go off different types of food, or something is affecting the way we consume our food, going as far as to develop eating disorders. Whatever the case, many elderly adults are experiencing this change in their lives right now, so we need to have a firm understanding of why this could happen. Here are four things that can affect your eating habits as you age.
Taking medication can severely affect the eating habits of the elderly because it can interact with our bodies in different ways. For example, some medications can interfere with the nutrients we get from food and have appetite-suppressing effects. This could lead to many elderly seniors not having an interest in food, having an altered sense of taste, and losing the pleasure of food that they once had.
Losing the Desire to Eat
According to the Journal on the decline of appetites in older people from the National Library of Medicine, losing the desire to eat is something that often comes with age, due to physiological changes that occur in the body when aging. According to the journal, alongside the effects of medication, the decrease or impairment of appetite includes hormonal changes, diseases, the experience of pain, changes to the sense of smell, vision, and taste, issues with the digestive system, as well as just a general decrease in the need for energy.
Swallowing Issues (Dysphagia)
Among the myriad of ailments that can affect the elderly, dysphagia is considered one of the most serious. Dysphagia is the medical term for difficulty swallowing and can be caused by various problems, including anatomical or functional abnormalities. It can also be caused by disease or trauma to the brain, oesophagus, or another part of the digestive system.
In most cases of dysphagia, the person will have trouble swallowing food and liquids. They may also experience coughing or choking when eating and may require the help of products like Simplythick easymix to thicken their meals and drinks, making it easier to consume food and drink. The severity of dysphagia can vary from person to person. Some elderly people who have dysphagia may experience mild symptoms, while others may require medical intervention to help them swallow properly again.
Poor Dental Health
Dental health is something that many of us will have to deal with as we get older and is something else that can affect the eating habits of the elderly. If a person’s teeth are damaged or missing, they may not be able to eat certain foods. Some senior citizens rely on dental implants or dentures, but if they don’t fit properly or aren’t up to date, they may have issues with eating certain foods.
Additionally, if a person has dental issues that prevent them from eating certain foods, such as an infection or tooth decay; this could then lead to malnutrition and weight loss.