How a palliative approach can help older people being cared for at home: A booklet for older people and their families

Poor nutrition

Page last updated: 21 May 2012

Poor nutrition can develop if you don’t feel hungry, have trouble shopping or cooking, don’t feel well, or have mouth problems that make it hard to eat.

Lack of appetite is common. Try to keep eating a healthy diet. If you find this difficult, talk to a health care professional (eg a nurse). Sometimes a dietician might be available to help you plan a special diet or suggest helpful foods.

Advice for carers

Watch what and how much the older person is eating. Lack of appetite is common and can be normal in very advanced illness. It may not be appropriate to try to make an older person eat when he or she is extremely frail or unwell. In these cases, or if you are concerned about poor nutrition, seek advice from someone in the health care team — for example, a nurse.

When a person who has dementia does not settle well to eat at mealtimes, they may take enough food if you provide snacks often.

Advice on mouth problems is covered later in this section.

Meals on Wheels can help older people to live more independently at home by delivering meals.
Weblink: Meals on Wheels
Telephone: See the White Pages