One of the problems that might concern you greatly toward the end of your family member’s life might be her lack of appetite. There are some particular issues that make food less appealing during this time.
Her Senses of Smell and Taste Are Often Affected.
So much can affect your family member’s senses of both taste and smell at the end of her life. She may not find food interesting at all, especially if she has always loved food for reasons beyond simple nutrition. When she does eat, your family member may be unimpressed no matter whether it’s a favorite recipe or something that other people reassure her is tasty and well-seasoned.
Your Family Member May Not See the Food Well.
If your family member’s vision is poor or failing, it might not be easy for her to see the food at all. Many people find that the majority of their interest in eating a particular food is visual. For a family member who can no longer see the food well, she may suddenly realize that her appetite has waned greatly. You may need to find ways to boost visibility of the food, such as using contrasting plates or trying out better lighting.
Chewing and Swallowing Can Be a Problem.
Your family member can have trouble with the mechanics of eating for so many reasons. Dental problems or problems with saliva production make chewing and even swallowing food almost impossible. Some health issues or medications can make swallowing food difficult or interfere with peristalsis, the reflex that helps move food down the esophagus.
Medication Side Effects Can Take Over.
Side effects from medications and even from some treatment methods are powerful. Your family member may have absolutely no appetite at all, even if she hasn’t eaten for a full day. It’s important to make sure that both you and your family member understand potential side effects, so talk with her doctor and pharmacist about how medication might affect her.
Constipation and Other Digestive Issues Are Uncomfortable.
It is very common with chronic illnesses and at the end of life for someone to become constipated very easily. This can make your family member feel full, even if it’s been hours since she last ate. She may also have other digestive issues, such as acid reflux, that make eating uncomfortable.
Talk to your family member’s doctor about what you’re seeing. Her medical team may be able to recommend some ideas. Also, consider hiring hospice elder care providers to help you determine which solutions are most effective for your family member.
If you or your aging loved one could benefit from Hospice Care in North, SC, contact the caring staff at Grove Park Hospice, (803) 536-6644