If your loved one has lost his or her sense of taste, he or she probably no longer enjoys eating. So how do you ensure that your loved one gets the proper nutrition?
The loss of the sense of taste can have a devastating effect on nutritional health. Individuals at risk for losing the sense of taste include the elderly, people who have certain allergies, or those who use excessive nose drops or certain medications. Other physical factors include smoking, poor oral hygiene, dentures that rub the tongue, certain medical conditions, and the partial loss of the sense of smell. Additionally, the loss of taste can result from psychological factors such as loneliness at meals or the unwillingness or inability to cook. Finally, the loss of the sense of taste can result from circumstantial factors such as a limited food budget.
Regardless of the cause, the loss of taste often leads to nutritional problems. The individual may lose interest in eating to the point of malnutrition, overeat in an attempt to achieve pleasure from food, or use excess amounts of salt, sugar, or spices to compensate for the perceived lack of taste.
If your loved one has lost his or her sense of taste, what can you do to help him or her enjoy mealtimes more?
- Encourage exercise to stimulate the appetite.
- Encourage good oral hygiene.
- Invite your loved one to share meals with friends and family.
- Make the table appealing by using colorful placemats and napkins.
- Make the meal appealing by using foods with various colors and textures.
- Prepare foods that are familiar and liked by your loved one.
- Prepare a variety of foods.
- Prepare foods using a variety of seasonings (e.g., onion, garlic, oregano, mint, vinegar, or lemon juice).
- Prepare meats by marinating them in fruit juices, wines, or Italian dressing.
- Add texture to non-textured foods such as applesauce.
- Encourage your loved one to chew his or her food well, and to alternate bites of different kinds of food.
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