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Why Do Most Older Adults Crave Sweets?

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Food cravings can be challenging to manage at every age. However, seniors often reach a point when they begin to crave sweet foods more than other types. Since these cravings could interfere with your senior loved one’s healthy eating plans, you need to understand why it happens and know what to do to satisfy the craving without going overboard with sugar.

The Sense of Taste Changes with Age

The senses gradually decrease over the years as part of the normal aging process, and certain health conditions can impact the senses in a variety of ways. While people tend to think more about vision or hearing loss, the sense of taste is also noticeably different in seniors. Aging adults who are losing their sense of taste may claim they don’t have an appetite, or they may insist on adding large amounts of salt or sugar to their food. Seniors who aren’t getting enough carbohydrates may try to supplement their diet by eating sugary foods that are more enticing to the taste buds than the subtle flavors found in healthier options. As a caregiver, you cannot do much about normal changes that occur with aging, but you can address other health issues that contribute to sugar cravings. 

Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality elderly home care. Orlando families trust Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably.

Age-Related Diseases

In some instances, cravings for sweets are the result of health conditions or their treatments. For example, seniors may experience dry mouth due to medication side effects or autoimmune disorders, those with diabetes may crave sugary foods due to low blood glucose levels, and those who don’t get enough energy from carbohydrates may also have these cravings. You should also know that seniors who have Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s disease, or other dementia-related conditions may crave sweets due to an altered ability to detect the flavor.

If your elderly loved one is living with a serious medical condition and needs help managing the tasks of daily living, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a Windermere in-home care agency you can trust. Our caregivers are available 24/7, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of our in-home care services.

Find Healthy Alternatives to Satisfy Cravings for Sweets

Your first step is to identify if an underlying health condition is causing your loved one to crave an unusual amount of sweets. Make sure to mention the problem to the physician to find out if your loved one needs to be screened for diabetes, or have him or her checked for dry mouth. In the meantime, there are also things you can do at home to satisfy your loved one’s cravings without sacrificing his or her health. Try experimenting with alternative ingredients that provide a similar flavor. For instance, natural sweeteners such as stevia can give food more flavor without adding calories or other artificial ingredients. You can also use honey in place of sugar in coffee or tea, or as an alternative to brown sugar in oatmeal. Fruit is also a great way to let your loved one indulge his or her sweet tooth in a way that also provides health-boosting nutrients.

Families who are concerned about their loved one’s health and need someone who can take care of his or her basic needs should consider hiring a professional caregiver. Every senior has different needs when aging in place. Some simply need occasional assistance with household chores, while others may be managing a serious illness and require more extensive live-in care. Altamonte Springs seniors can count on Home Care Assistance to provide the in-home care they need and deserve. Schedule a free in-home consultation by calling Home Care Assistance today at (407) 604-0506.

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