How To Encourage Seniors Who Have Lost Their Appetite

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Without a nutritional diet, the body is the perfect habitat for disease to grow. The body needs food to function because food is the body’s fuel. People of all generations are losing their appetite due to physical illness and mental health disorders, but seniors get the short end of the stick with age working against them. Even though cannabidiol (CBD) is an appetite stimulant because it regulates the body’s metabolism, medicine alone is not the most efficient way to solve a problem with the body. If you or someone you know are struggling with the inability to eat, there are some ways to help make the process easier.

What Causes Loss Of Appetite?

Loss of appetite can come from a range of sources like disease, poor environment and wear and tear on the body. But knowing why an individual’s desire to eat has left them is the key to figuring out how to fix it or at least learn to live with it safely. Not everything can be patched up and back to normal, but there are ways to work with what you’ve got.

Disease

 

Alzheimer’s Disease

Many times a person’s taste in food will change along with the progression of the disease. A completely new pallet that may have nothing healthy on the menu. It also can become difficult for individuals with Alzheimer’s to eat, making the task so much more undesirable. Some patients have even forgotten how to recognize hunger, making it difficult to remember to eat. And some patients have just lost interest in food altogether.

Parkinson’s Disease

Tremors make eating extremely difficult, and some individuals become fed up with the battle and give up entirely. Some patients experience extreme pain while digesting, making their appetite synonymous with suffering. Individuals with Parkinson’s Disease also often lose their sense of smell and develop depression which also are causes of loss of appetite. If the weight loss is extreme in the early stages of Parkinson’s, this could mean that the individual has a more severe case of the disease.

Thyroid Disorders

Thyroid disorders like hypothyroidism can make you slow down with symptoms of fatigue and depression. This is how individuals with a thyroid disease can lose weight instead of gaining it considering it slows down the metabolism. Once the body starts to require fewer calories, the appetite begins to diminish. And for those who have written off eating altogether, they will diminish as well with malnutrition.

Cancer

More than just chemotherapy makes cancer patients lose their appetite. Some cancers can make changes in the metabolism, and have swelling in the spleen which pushes against the stomach making an individual feel full. There are also ascites that is a buildup of fluid in the abdomen that can cause the cancer patient to lose their desire to eat.

Oral Diseases

Having sores in your mouth is going to make eating painful, and doing something that hurts is against human nature even if it is to do something for survival. It is difficult to fight that. If the disease affects the taste buds, that can also take the excitement out of eating. Some oral diseases infect the sinuses, making the nose unable to smell which takes away the rest of the taste in food.

Salivary Gland Problems

When an individual has a salivary gland disorder, they can lose their ability to taste and swallow. Without the proper lubricant your mouth needs to swallow food, it can be almost impossible for some to complete the task. It’s no surprise that one of the symptoms of the salivary gland viruses is reduced appetite.

 

Mental Health

Anxiety

Anxiety is the body’s natural response to fear. When someone has an anxiety disorder, their brain is telling your body there is a threat consistently, even when there isn’t one. If you think back to the cave man days, a threat may have meant a Mammoth walking around outside your cave, and you and your family have to run, and you have to run for miles. You can’t use the bathroom, eat, or sleep. All you can do is escape and survive. In the future of today, your body still will shut down those survival needs when there is danger around. You don’t have time to eat, you have a Mammoth to outrun! Therefore many people with anxiety are unable to hold on to an appetite.

Depression

One of the things depression does is take the sparkle out of life. It does this by keeping your brain from experiencing pleasure through dopamine. Our body knows to eat because of the reward system in our brains. Every time we do something beneficial for survival, the brain celebrates by giving you a flood of good old dopamine. This way, when we see this survival activity, we want to do it again. We need to do it again to survive. This is how addiction works, as well. But if the body isn’t receiving dopamine when it is doing an action, it isn’t necessary and making it unenjoyable. Therefore, people with depression will experience not only a lack of appetite but also their sex drive goes down, and it is difficult for them to sleep. Because what our body should need is to refuel with food, repopulate, and sleep. People with depression don’t get that memo.

Loss of Control

Many times growing into the older adult phases of an individuals life can result in losing independence. Many seniors vision decays, making them unable to drive. They may be unable to make their own food or even put their own clothes on. It is human nature to crave freedom, and some may only find it when they can refuse to eat.

Mealtimes are Unpleasant

Though it may be a passing moment for family members and friends, mealtime can leave an impact on just about anyone, but especially seniors struggling with physical or mental health. If there are often arguments or fighting, it may give the feeling of anxiety whenever it is time to eat. This can cause someone to dread every meal, making them even less likely to eat when they make it to the table.

Poor Daily Regimen

Lack Of Exercise

Exercise is essential for senior’s general health. It improves physical and mental strength and resilience. Physical activity also burns calories which makes the body crave more energy, and it knows the only way it can get it is food. It does this by increasing the hormones in the body that make you crave food. By adding exercise to an everyday routine, even something as small as a short walk, it can help the body want food. For individuals who find that they have no energy because they haven’t regulated their appetite yet, CBD is known to boost energy and concentration making the exercise easier to do and more efficient. This also can help many illnesses that cause a lack of appetite, killing many birds with one stone.

Dehydration

Water helps people digest food and helps organs work properly. Not drinking enough water can cause you to become dehydrated which can bring on fatigue and dry mouth. One of the most common causes of loss of appetite is fatigue, because of your body’s negligence to crave food. Dry mouth can also lower one’s appetite by making it more difficult to eat and swallow.

Lack of Routine

The body has a clock; it is called the biological clock. It knows at what time of day things should happen because of what it has observed over time. If an individual goes to sleep every night at 8 pm, their body will adjust and start to get tired around eight at night. The same goes for food. If an individual is eating at sporadic moments of the day, this could be confusing to the body. Especially if someone has an issue with their appetite. Just by setting a scheduled time to eat can make the world of a difference in increasing someone’s appetite.

How CBD Can Help Gain An Appetite

CBD and Mental Health

Sometimes depression and anxiety are so debilitating, even the most loving and nurturing individuals can’t get them to come out of their world. It can be difficult to reach someone who buries themselves in their own mental torment, but studies have proved that CBD is as effective as pharmaceutical antidepressants, and has been known to eliminate anxiety. For individuals who have behavioral issues due to anger and agitation from their illnesses, CBD can assist in calming them down, making it easier to walk the road towards a healthier life together. 

Medicine In Food

One way to trick yourself into eating is by putting medication in your food. You have to eat it; your dose is in there. And if anything, at least you ate that this meal. By cooking CBD into brownies or pasta sauce, you can gain an extra incentive to eat while having fun making new recipes to keep the meals exciting.

Make sure to serve a lot of liquid with the meal. Keep in mind that you will fill up faster with the liquids, but it will make the food easier to consume. Try to make sure you are making soft foods that go down easy and taste good enough for you or your loved one to want to try to eat them. This is also a great way to help reluctant patients take their medicine.

CBD Tinctures

Some medications can cause dry mouth, which makes food taste different. This can cause a loss of appetite. Taking pills can also be awkward with dry mouth, making it difficult to swallow. For seniors who can’t hold down tablets and can’t eat, tinctures can help improve their appetite. It is a great way to get CBD in the system quickly and easily, providing a quick remedy. By taking CBD, it will regulate the metabolism and the brain chemistry that is involved with eating, bringing the individuals body back to a regular baseline.

Sarah Potts

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