How To Stimulate Appetite In The Elderly? Everything You Must Know!


Elderlies lose their appetite, and this is universal. As humans age, maintaining a healthy appetite becomes extremely crucial but equally challenging. With physiological changes, dental issues, decreased metabolism, altered hormone levels and certain medical conditions, losing the desire to eat is prevalent.

However, older adults must have nutritious meals and enough calories to maintain a stable weight and remain healthy. But how to encourage appetite in older people? The struggle is real.

Convincing elderlies to eat, especially as they enter the senior phase of their life, isn’t as easy as it may sound. However, if lack of food is causing health downfalls, it is essential to look after their appetite. Continue reading the article to learn how to enhance the joy of eating and promote better nutrition for elders.

How Can Elderly Increase Appetite: Simple & Easy Tips

During our youth, a single taste of delicious food can pique our appetites. As we age, our appetites change, leading to seniors often struggling to meet their nutritional needs.

This article provides tips to stimulate appetite, make meals more enjoyable, and meet nutritional needs for individuals who may find traditional foods less appealing or experience aches and pains.

Although appetite stimulation may work differently from individual to individual, these simple tips may help.

How Can Elderly Increase Appetite
  1. Create a Routine

Older adults may find it challenging to recognize their hunger sometimes, and thus, a schedule may help. Create a daily routine with multiple meals, snacks and drinks. Creating a routine at times makes eating an established activity. 

  1. Focus on Portions of Nutrient-rich food items.

For elderlies who do not crave three big meals daily, incorporating multiple small portions works wonders. Consider adding 4 to 5 smaller meals in their routine with dry fruits, fresh seasonal fruits, a cup of milk or coffee, or their favourite packaged snack.

  1. Minus the need for Utensils

Picture how toddlers never feel satisfied eating with utensils and enjoy having their food in their hands; the same can work for senior adults. Offer them food that can be quickly eaten while walking, gardening or simply soaking under the sun.

  1. Introduce Smoothies, Milkshakes and Juices

If your elderlies are losing appetite due to difficulty chewing, incorporate fresh smoothies, milkshakes and juices. You can also experiment with some nutritious soups for mid-meal snacks or as a meal. 

  1. Keep Nutritious Snacks on their reach.

Some people love snacking over traditional meals; if the snacks are nutritious, that’s fine. Make sure you stock up on easy-to-eat snacks right next to the reading chair or even the bed of older people in your home. 

  1. Track their Preferences and Patterns

Note down your adult’s food preferences and patterns, including optimal meal time, favourite food items, and food they do not like. Tailor their daily routine accordingly.

  1. Develop a Social and Enjoyable mealtime.

Eating with others encourages appetite and makes the meals more interesting. If it works, you can also turn mealtime into family TV, movie hour, or exciting events.

  1. Include Protein, Calorie and Nutrition-rich food.

Include full-fat milk, butter, ghee, eggs and other dense food items (if digestible) to boost the nutrition and overall calorie intake. 

  1. Combat Dry Mouth

If dryness in the mouth is responsible for decreasing appetite, consult a dentist for moisturizing mouthwashes.

Naturally Improving Appetite For Elderly : Things For Healthier Lifestyle

Improving appetite in the elderly involves a combination of dietary, lifestyle, and environmental factors. As people age, their appetite may decrease for various reasons, including changes in metabolism, medications, or underlying health conditions. Here are some suggestions to naturally improve appetite in the elderly:

Naturally Improving Appetite For Elderly
  • Rule out any health and medical reasons for their decreasing appetite. It can be anything from dental issues to an ill-fitted denture, dry mouth, upset stomach, constipation, acidity, or bloating impacting their appetite.
  • Make the meals aesthetically pleasing, choose colourful food, new dinnerware, etc. 
  • Incorporate eating outside, ideally during brunch, since it is an ideal time for elderies to digest food easily. 
  • Try new dishes and recipes to bring the culinary adventure at home. 
  • Invite family and friends on weekends, especially people who your elderlies gel easily with.
  • Involve your seniors in meal preparation, from shopping with the ingredients to cutting, chopping, cooking, etc. 
  • Experiment with aromatic spices and herbs (both in food and the atmosphere) to enhance the olfactory experience that can elevate hunger.

Also Read:- Mental Health In The Elderly – Major Mental Health Issues Faced By Elderly


Making older people eat can be as challenging as making toddlers eat. However, as concerned as we are for the overall physical growth of our toddlers, the physical well-being of our seniors is equally essential. 

Loss of appetite can have severe physical outcomes; thus, ensuring your seniors eat enough is very important. Follow the tips mentioned above to increase their desire to eat. However, if none helps, consult a healthcare expert, a doctor or a nutritionist for guidance.

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Dr. David G Kiely is a distinguished Medical Reviewer and former General Medicine Consultant with a wealth of experience in the field. Dr. Kiely's notable career as a General Medicine Consultant highlights his significant contributions to the medical field.

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