Weight loss is a serious concern for many seniors. Various medical conditions can lead to a loss in appetite, and cognitive concerns such as Alzheimer’s disease can make it difficult for your senior to understand hunger and the need to eat. A reduced compulsion to eat can quickly lead to malnutrition and serious weight loss. This is something that needs to be addressed promptly in order to protect the ongoing health and well-being of your loved one. If you are noticing that your senior loved one has been losing weight rapidly, discuss your concerns with his physician. If your loved one was seriously overweight prior to this weight loss, the physician may they that this weight loss is fine as long as the senior continues to feel healthy and is behaving in ways that you would describe as being consistent with his personality and character. If your senior has lost extreme amount of weight, however, didn’t need to lose weight in the first place, or is lethargic or doesn’t seem like “him”, this weight loss can be cause for concern.
Addressing senior weight loss can be as easy as modifying the senior’s diet. One side effect of aging is loss of the ability to smell and taste, which can greatly reduce the compulsion to eat. By introducing foods with very strong sense and flavors, you can make the experience of eating more satisfying, therefore making your senior more willing to eat regularly. If a specific medical concern, medication or other problem is causing your senior to not be able to maintain his body weight, you may need to find creative ways to introduce more calories into his diet. Many doctors recommend using meal replacement shakes and boosting their nutritional content by adding extra protein powder. These shakes cannot only replace meals for seniors who have difficulty eating solid food, but can also act as supplements to a regular diet. The liquid nature of the shakes is easier for many seniors to consume, and the sweet flavors tend to be very appealing.
Make sure that you discuss with your senior your concerns over his weight loss. Ask him what types of foods she would like to eat, and if there is anything else you could do to help stimulate his appetite. Make sure that you are not sacrificing a well-balanced diet simply for bulk, because as much more important that he gets the nutrition that he needs then it is that he eats a large amount.
Care Connection provides elder care in Lansing, MI. For more information about our caregiver services, please call us today at (517) 489-2489.