1. Loss of appetite: If the senior was always a hearty eater but isn't now, find out why. Poor nutrition could be the root cause.
2. No interest in eating out: Your loved one always enjoyed eating out at a favourite restaurant, but doesn't anymore.
3. Depression: Change in appetite is a classic sign of depression. Be sure to follow up with a physician if you suspect depression may be a problem.
4. Sudden weight fluctuation: A weight change — losing or gaining 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) in six months — is another sign that something could be amiss.
5. Expired or spoiled food: Check the refrigerator. Seniors could be "saving" food until it's no longer safe. Make sure all food is labelled with a date in large letters and numbers.
6. Skin tone: Observe your senior's skin tone. Skin should be pink and healthy, not pale and grey.
7. Lethargy: If your loved one has always been active and takes walks, but suddenly becomes lethargic, encourage a visit to the doctor. Poor nutrition could be to blame.
8. Cognitive problems: Seniors who live alone might forget to eat. Dementia and cognitive problems can lead to nutrition deficiencies, so intervention is vital.
9. More than three medications: Medication can influence appetite and weight. Check with the doctor.
10. A recent illness: Illness or hospitalization could prompt a senior to quit eating. Keep tabs on your loved one's recovery, making sure they have help at home.