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How to Maintain a Healthy Weight in the Golden Years

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With age, basal metabolic rate slows down, which makes it more difficult for seniors to lose and maintain a healthy weight. A study done by John Hopkins University found that metabolism decreases one to two percent per decade, beginning when people are in their 20s. When people are between the ages of 40 and 50, the metabolic rate decreases at an even faster rate. Losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight is an important part of good health. Learn how you can help your senior loved one lose weight and keep it off with the following tips.

Build Lean Muscle Mass

Developing and maintaining muscle mass is one of the best ways to increase metabolism. However, muscle synthesis rates decrease with age as the muscle breakdown rate increases, which means seniors have to work harder to build and maintain muscles. A study published in the Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism found that senior women who regularly exercised didn’t experience the decrease in their metabolic rate that’s normally seen with age. Encourage your loved one to exercise by finding a physical activity he or she enjoys or a group of friends to exercise with regularly. 

If your loved one has health conditions that make it a challenge to exercise alone, consider hiring a professional caregiver to help with workouts at home. When considering senior care, Fort Myers, FL, families should make sure their senior loved ones have the resources they need to maintain their independence and remain healthy. Trusted in-home care professionals can assist seniors with daily tasks like cooking, bathing, and exercise, and they can also encourage them to focus on healthier lifestyle habits.

Eat Regularly

Many seniors have diminished appetites due to medications or health conditions. As a result, they don’t eat regularly. Not eating regular meals may have the opposite effect on metabolic rate and weight loss. When not enough calories are consumed, the body may go into “starvation mode” to hold on to the body’s fat. Seniors should aim to eat four to five small meals a day to keep metabolic rates high. 

For busy family caregivers who find it challenging to make sure their loved ones eat as frequently as they should throughout the day, a professional caregiver can be a wonderful source of support. There are a variety of reasons family caregivers should consider respite care. Fort Myers, FL, families often have additional responsibilities that make it more challenging to provide the care their senior loved ones need and deserve. A professional respite caregiver can take over your important caregiving duties, allowing you more time to focus on yourself.

Consume Protein Throughout the Day

Protein plays an important role in good health and weight loss. It can keep seniors fuller and prevent blood sugar levels from spiking. When too many carbohydrates are eaten, blood sugar levels increase. The body compensates for this by releasing insulin, which helps the body use the blood sugar for energy. However, insulin also helps the body retain the food eaten as fat. Eating 20 to 30 grams of protein with each meal can keep your loved one from getting hungry again too soon, stabilize blood sugar levels, and build muscle mass.

Get a Good Night’s Rest

Many seniors complain about not being able to get enough sleep at night, which may be due to health conditions or medications. Additionally, many seniors have sleep disorders that interrupt their rest at night. Sleep plays an essential role in metabolism. A 2011 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who experienced sleep deprivation had a reduction in energy expenditure and a decrease in their metabolic rate. Help your loved one get the sleep he or she needs by making the bedroom dark, encouraging him or her to limit technology in the bedroom, and not serving caffeinated beverages past the afternoon. If your loved one still has a difficult time sleeping, talk with his or her doctor about appropriate sleep solutions.

If your parent finds it challenging to lose weight, a professional caregiver can help by providing support for good nutrition and exercise as well as encouragement to maintain motivation. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of at-home care. Fort Myers families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. If your loved one needs professional care, Home Care Assistance is here to help. Call one of our Care Managers today at 239.449.4701.