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 intake.
Water, Water- Make sure the person you are caring for has plenty of
water to avoid dehydration, which can lead to appetite suppression.
of three large meals a day, which can look overwhelming to someone in
poor health, serve six small meals a day.
soft foods such as pudding, ice cream or fruit smoothies because they
can be tasty and easy to digest
serve bland or sour tasting foods.
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
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.
herbal appetite-enhancing teas or appetite stimulating medicines (i.e.
corticosteriods or progestational agents).
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.
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
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