What do old people not eat

Eating and drinking in old age: when grandma or grandpa no longer wants to taste it

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Written by Wiebke Posmyk • Medical editor

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"You need to eat more!" One or the other has already said this sentence to his elderly parents or grandparents. But there is often a lack of implementation, because the feeling of hunger and thirst decrease with age. In some cases, the enjoyment of eating can be completely lost, for example when chewing is associated with pain. But there are a few ways to whet your appetite a little bit again.

When the body needs energy, people get hungry and want to eat - that's how it should be. And the sight of a delicious-looking, seductively smelling meal arouses the need to eat. In the elderly, however, hunger and appetite are sometimes greatly reduced. In old age people are fuller faster, taste and smell worse than in younger years and may also have difficulty chewing. Many also drink too little because they are not thirsty and simply forget to drink.

Impending malnutrition

The energy requirement is lower in older people than in younger people, but the need for vitamins and minerals is just as high or even higher. Many older people take in too few nutrients. Some complaints, which are seen as symptoms of general "old age", can in truth be an undersupply. Possible signs are, for example, tiredness, a feeling of weakness, weight loss and decreased drive.

When nothing tastes good in old age

Stimulate the appetite in a targeted manner

What applies to younger people should also be taken into account for the older generation: the eye eats too. A carelessly served meal is certainly less likely to whet your appetite than a meal that is nicely arranged on the plate.

You can make a difference not only with an appetizing-looking dish. There are other ways to whet your appetite for something to eat. For example, ensure variety and offer the widest possible variety of different foods. Even if the response should be a bit meager at first, you should stick to this idea.

Our tips:

  • Arrange every dish in a tasty and appetizing way, even if the loved one does not signal hunger.
  • Rely on strong contrasts, as eyesight often deteriorates with age.
  • It is better to offer several small servings every day than a few large ones.
  • The meal should take place in a calm, pleasant atmosphere.
  • If possible, take a few steps together in the fresh air regularly.
  • Dietary fiber in whole grain products, fruits and vegetables stimulate the often slowed bowel activity in the elderly and thus counteract constipation and excessive satiety.
  • Herbs or spices stimulate the sense of taste and arouse the appetite.

Keep an eye on the amount you drink

A lack of thirst is a common problem in the elderly. Many do not even notice that they have hardly had anything to drink during the day. Others, on the other hand, deliberately avoid drinking too much because they fear that they will have to go to the bathroom too often at night.

Our tips:

  • Serve a drink with every meal, preferably water, herbal or fruit tea or juice spritzer.
  • Ask the relatives which drink they particularly like. If necessary, offer several drinks to choose from.
  • If you are not sure whether the person is drinking enough, a drinking log can be helpful. Make a note of when and how much was drunk (e.g. with a "tally sheet" for each drink). It should normally be 1.5 to 2 liters. If in doubt, ask your doctor beforehand.
  • Establish a routine, for example by refilling an empty glass straight away or offering a drink right after getting up.
  • Provide your loved one with the "daily ration" in a clearly visible manner.

Eating easier

Ill-fitting prostheses, inflammation in the mouth or certain illnesses can make eating difficult. In this case, try to make food intake as comfortable as possible by preparing food accordingly.

Our tips:

  • Cut off hard components, e.g. B. Bread crust or the skin of apples.
  • Cut meat into bite-sized pieces.
  • It may be a good idea to puree food or mash cooked food with a fork. You can offer raw vegetables (e.g. carrots) in grated form.
  • Replace hard foods with softer alternatives. For example, instead of a steak, you can prepare a fillet of fish.

Online information from the Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE): www.in-form.de (accessed on: 23.7.2020)

German Nutrition Society V .: Malnutrition in old age. Online publication: www.fitimalter-dge.de (access date: 23.7.2020)

German Nutrition Society V .: Drinking in old age. Online publication: www.fitimalter-dge.de (access date: 23.7.2020)

Pohl, K .: Nutrition in old age. Enjoyment instead of light food. Pharmaceutical newspaper online, edition 22/2009

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Last content check:23.07.2020
Last change: 23.07.2020