Many patients I work with in the hospital tell me that they are not eating due to lack of appetite. Decreased appetite can lead to unintentional weight loss in older adults.
Loss appetite can have many causes, some directly related to aging and others are not. As we age our sense of smell and taste change. If food doesn’t taste or smell good, our desire to eat may decline. Older adults often have early satiety, and feel full after eating only small amounts. Constipation can also make a person feel full even if they haven’t eaten recently. Additionally, medications can decrease appetite and alter taste. Individuals with dementia or Alzheimer’s may just not remember they need to eat. Many older adults are also less active which can be a contributing factor.