Why Do Seniors Lose Their Appetites? 10 Possible Reasons

why do seniors lose their appetites

Loss of appetite is common in seniors

Many older adults struggle during mealtimes or simply refuse to eat because they’ve lost their appetite.

This is an important issue to address because seniors need to eat well to stay as healthy and active as possible.

But how can you convince someone with no appetite to eat? And why do seniors lose their appetites in the first place?

To help you figure out why this is happening, we explain what types of health conditions could cause a loss of appetite and share 10 reasons why someone wouldn’t want to eat.



First, rule out serious health conditions or medication side effects

If your older adult suddenly loses their appetite, it’s important to talk with their doctor. A check-up might be needed to rule out serious health conditions or medication side effects.

Some serious illnesses cause changes to taste and appetite, including:

Medication side effects like dry mouth or a metallic taste can change how food or water tastes, which can also cause a loss of appetite.


10 reasons for loss of appetite in seniors

If loss of appetite isn’t caused by a health or medication issue, here are 10 other reasons why someone might not want to eat.

1. Lack of exercise
Regular exercise and activity helps boost appetite. Sometimes, seniors need to work up an appetite before they can eat.

2. Dehydration
Being dehydrated can cause loss of appetite. Many older adults don’t get enough fluids and become dehydrated more easily because of age-related changes or medications they’re taking.

3. Lack of routine
Getting into a daily routine where meals are eaten around the same time every day can help their body feel ready to eat at those times.

4. Inability to prepare meals
Seniors who live independently might not be eating because preparing their own meals has become too difficult.

5. Loss of taste
With age, many people’s taste buds become less able to detect flavors. Normal food might be bland and unappetizing to them.

6. Difficulty chewing, swallowing, or eating independently

If eating has become too difficult or unpleasant, many older adults simply don’t want to eat.

These problems can be caused by:

7. Sensitivity to smells
Sometimes people develop a sensitivity to the smell of certain foods that can make them feel nauseated or unable to eat.

8. Depression or loneliness
Depression affects 1 in 10 seniors and often causes loss of appetite. Many older adults may also dislike mealtime because they have nobody to eat with and their loneliness gets intensified.

9. Loss of control
When older adults are dependent on others for everything, they’ve lost control over how they want to live their lives. Sometimes, not being able to choose what to eat makes someone not want to eat at all.

10. Mealtimes are unpleasant
If mealtimes have become a time for disagreements or arguments about their eating, seniors could associate food with unpleasantness and avoid it.


Next Step  Try these 6 ways to encourage your older adult to eat more


Recommended for you:


By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: House of Inspirations


  • Reply September 16, 2020

    Elsa Collins

    I find this topic very educative. A big thank you!

    • Reply September 16, 2020


      You’re very welcome! So glad this is helpful.

  • Reply August 4, 2020

    Gail Dickens

    Thank you for this information. I now realise that it’s my dentures that have made me lose my joy in good. My life seems to have changed since I had these dentures. I don’t like them at all.

    • Reply August 4, 2020


      So glad this article is helpful! We hope your dentist can help make your dentures more comfortable to wear. Or, if they’re new, perhaps it will just take a little time to adjust to having them in your mouth.

  • Reply May 10, 2019

    Marva Bernard-Gordon

    I have found this article very informative. I can now try new ways to get my mother to eat

Leave a Reply