Loss or change of taste buds is not uncommon among elderly adults. Taste and smell help people determine their like or dislike of food, and they are interrelated.
What Happens After the Loss of Taste and Smell
If a senior loses the sense of taste or smell, eating becomes boring, almost senseless and one of two things may happen. The senior may choose not to eat, as there is no satisfaction in doing so. Often when seniors cannot taste their food, they also may not be able to smell the aromas that were once pleasing and without a fragrance or savory taste, eating may become a chore. The second common scenario is to eat continuously while trying to find that one food that triggers the senses.
Cause of Taste Loss or Change
- Medications – Medications may interrupt the metabolic processes of the body and create a chemical change. This chemical change may case foods to taste metallic while eating and may interact with foods to change their consistency and flavors.
- Infections – Specifically in the mouth or the bloodstream, infections may affect how the body chemistry reacts to food enzymes, which can often cause a nasty flavor or aftertaste.
- Dental problems – Tooth decay and gum disease add bacteria to the saliva in the mouth, which can ruin the taste of good food. Just brushing and flossing the teeth will not change the chemistry causing the problem. In fact, if this is the cause, your parent should be seen by their dentist since dental infections may lead to heart and lung disease.
There are many other health issues that may lead to loss of taste, including head injuries. If your parent has fallen recently or has a history of a past head injury, the change in taste may be related. In home care service experts recommend understanding the reason and maintaining an excellent nutritional balance for wellness, taste or lack thereof.
When working with a professional caregiver, they will provide healthy, nutritious meals for your loved one. This can prevent dangerous weight loss and other health issues. They can also provide transportation to and from the dentist to ensure they’re teeth are healthy and clean.