Changes to your senior’s sense of taste are common if she has cancer, both because of the illness itself and due to treatments she may be trying. Here are some ideas for coping.

Food Has No Flavor

One of the more upsetting taste changes your elderly family member might encounter could be that her food just doesn’t seem to have any taste. She may experience the texture but find that everything she’s eating tastes bland. This is a good time to try a variety of herbs, spices, and even condiments to find a combination that works well for her.

Food Smells Bad

Your elderly family member’s sense of smell may be on overdrive or she may not be able to smell much of anything. There may not be much you can do to help your senior to cope with not being able to smell her food. Trying some of the ideas for when food doesn’t taste the same may help a little. If food smells are overwhelming, then it’s a better idea to stick with foods that aren’t particularly smelly at all. Colder foods tend to have less odor overall, but this might require some trial and error.

Metallic Tastes

Avoiding adding to the metallic taste can help at least a little bit. Red meat in particular can have a metallic taste for people who are already sensitive. Choosing other proteins for a while may help, such as beans, poultry, or oily fish. Sauces and gravies can sometimes cover the metallic taste and make eating easier. Using metal silverware may also be a bad idea if it contributes to the metallic taste.

Other Issues

There may be other taste issues your senior is running into that are uncomfortable for her. Food might taste too salty or sweet, even if those foods don’t contain a lot of salt or sugar. Or the food might have other issues, like a bitter aftertaste. Sticking with bland foods that still have nutritional value can be helpful. Plain oatmeal, buttered noodles, brown rice, or mashed potatoes all have nutritional value but can be bland enough that they don’t aggravate her sense of taste.

Keeping a food diary can help your elderly family member to see patterns in what she’s able to eat happily and what is creating problems for her. If she’s in need of assistance putting meals together, then bringing in a caregiver may be the perfect answer.


If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Elderly Care in Pismo Beach, CA, please contact the friendly staff at San Luis Obispo Caregivers.
Call today: (805) 748-2614