ARTICLES / General / Top Ways
to Get Someone to Eat /
A common nutritional problem that
can affect care recipients in poor health is cachexia-anorexia
and it especially involves those in advanced stages of
Alzheimer’s, Cancer and AIDS. Cachexia-anorexia is a
syndrome in which progressive and involuntary weight
loss occurs. The people with this disorder are
“wasting-away” from the lack of vitamins and nutrients
and as a caregiver; this can be a difficult and
frustrating event to witness.
The syndrome can be attributed to cancer treatments,
medications, and physiological problems like an
obstructing tumor in the gastrointestinal track or
psychological problems like depression. It is also
possible the person you are caring for has a loss of
appetite simply from not feeling well. Today’s Caregiver
magazine has come up with a top list of ways to help
your care recipient to eat. This list doesn’t
necessarily reflect the needs of care recipients on
special need diets such as: diabetes or restricted salt
Water, Water, Water- Make sure the person you are caring
for has plenty of water to avoid dehydration, which can
lead to appetite suppression.
Instead of three large meals a day, which can look
overwhelming to someone in poor health, serve six small
meals a day.
Serve soft foods such as pudding, ice cream or fruit
smoothies because they can be tasty and easy to digest
Don’t serve bland or sour tasting foods.
When possible, give the person you are caring for the
decision-making power to decide what they would like to
eat; it helps them to feel in control.
Present appetizing looking meals by accenting the plate
with a garnish (i.e. strawberry or melon). Also, make
the dining experience pleasant for the person you are
caring for by playing soft music or talking to them
about the day’s events while they are eating to take
their minds off not feeling well.
Try herbal appetite-enhancing teas or appetite
stimulating medicines (i.e. corticosteriods or
Keep a food diary about the person you are caring for
and include: what food they have problems or
complications digesting and their daily food menus and
review it with their doctor or dietician for feedback.
They may be experiencing digestive problems or irritable
bowl syndrome due to their menu.
Try and get them moving to work up an appetite. If
overall exercise such as walking isn’t possible, have
them fold the laundry or peel vegetables.