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November 2012, Volume 42 Number 11 , p 10 - 11



I work in an assisted living facility. One resident, 81, was recently diagnosed with cancer. She's started eating only tiny portions of her food or refusing meals altogether. I know she isn't getting much nutrition from the amount she's eating. Even before her diagnosis she was a selective eater, but I could usually get her to drink a nutrition shake. Now, she won't even touch those. Do you have any tips on how I can encourage her to eat more?-M.C., N.D.Unfortunately, older adults can lose their appetites due to both the normal changes of aging and the effects of cancer and cancer treatments. To encourage better nutrition, start by assessing why your patient isn't eating. Common reasons include difficulty chewing and swallowing, pain, altered taste, dry mouth, and gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation. Then target your interventions toward the cause.For example, if your patient has trouble chewing or swallowing, provide softer food that may be easier

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