Flavor. We lose taste and smell as we age. And salt-restricted diets are often bland. Suggest cooking with more herbs and spices.
Pain. Pain decreases appetite. Eating with others can create a natural distraction. Also check for correctable problems with dentures or teeth.
Depression. Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or loneliness commonly reduce appetite. Have your loved one evaluated for depression. Look for ways to reduce isolation, particularly at mealtime.
Medication. Some medications cause nausea or constipation. Others bring on a depressed mood. Still others reduce taste and smell. Ask the pharmacist about side effects and possible alternative drugs.
Memory loss can result in forgetting how to cook, not recognizing hunger pains, or not cooking out of fear of leaving the stove on. Consider having meals prepared and delivered.
Overuse of alcohol leads to loss of appetite and malnutrition. But a bit of alcohol with a meal can stimulate appetite. Strive for balance.
See our article on nutrition, eating, and serious illness for additional tips.