If you have elderly loved ones, you may notice they are eating less and picking at their food. A gradual reduction in appetite with advancing age is not usually a cause for concern.  Most older adults will eat less because of lower energy requirements with advancing age.

There are several different reasons why seniors may lose their appetite, from aging to medications. Here are a few factors that may cause someone to skip meals.

• Depression

• Medication side effects

• Lack of interest in eating alone

• Chewing problems

• Impaired senses

• Lack of energy to cook

Stimulating appetite in a senior can be accomplished by enjoying a meal together. Also, preparing meals that are bright, colorful and packed with vitamins and minerals. However, don’t overwhelm loved ones with large portions of food on their plate and deter them from eating altogether. Finally, set a schedule for eating meals at the same time throughout the day.

Proper nutrition is essential at any age. While a loss of appetite is generally nothing to be concerned about, be sure to discuss any changes with a healthcare professional to rule out any potentially serious conditions.