Senior Nutrition Guidance, pt. 3

Continuing our series on senior food and nutrition, we are pleased to welcome content submitted by, a leading senior care resource for family caregivers seeking information and support as they care for aging parents.


Issues with your appetite should always be discussed with a healthcare practitioner, who can diagnose any conditions that may be causing the problem, as well as provide proper nutritional guidance.

– Addictions
Thankfully, the prevalence of drug and alcohol abuse among seniors is relatively low. However, that doesn’t mean this vulnerable population is entirely unaffected by addiction. Those who struggle with an addiction to alcohol, prescription medications or illicit drugs frequently face dietary issues. This can include the malabsorption of nutrients or a lack of appetite for the healthy and nutritious food their bodies need. While rehabilitation can help, most seniors require the support of an experienced nutritionist during recovery to ensure they make the necessary changes to their diet and improve their overall health.

– Oral Health Problems
An estimated 68% of older adults (age 65+) have gum disease. Another 13% deal with complete tooth loss. Related pain and discomfort, as well as a lack of strength in the teeth and jaw, can make it difficult for seniors to chew fruits and vegetables with tough skins, protein and other foods that are an important part of a complete diet.

– Medication Side Effects
Many medications can affect appetite. And because most older adults are taking at least one prescription drug, it’s not uncommon for seniors to experience appetite loss as a result of medication side effects. Some of the most common medications that cause appetite loss in seniors are:

— Antibiotics
— Antifungals
— Antivirals
— Muscle relaxants
— Thyroid regulators
— Tricyclic antidepressants
— Antipsychotics
— Heart medications
— Diuretics
— Mood stimulators
— Chemotherapy and radiation

Appetite loss due to medication side effects can be difficult to manage. In some cases, seniors may need to speak to their healthcare provider about making dosage adjustments to enable them to eat enough calories in a day. However, when that’s not possible, it’s important for seniors to eat a full, well-balanced meal before taking their medication and enjoy snacks throughout the day whenever they feel able.

JD Miller

About JD Miller

John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. Phone: (781) 378-2164 Email: [email protected] Website:

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