Weight management is a common problem among seniors and older adults, leaving many grappling with obesity and other health concerns, or confusion regarding how to exercise safely on a regular basis. With that in mind, it’s important for family members of senior adults to learn strategies that can help empower their loved ones to successfully manage their weight.
If you have an aging parent or loved one who is struggling with his or her weight, dietary and exercise habits will likely be the first areas of modification. However, prior to making dramatic changes to your loved one’s daily routine, recognize that any poor diet or exercise habits are likely customs in which he or she has been practicing for years. Change is not going to happen overnight. In order for your loved one to control his or her weight, he or she will need guidance and support with new activities. Home Care Assistance of Fort Myers, FL provides a few tips for how to encourage a healthier diet and exercise regimen for senior loved ones.
Studies indicate that slow changes to diet are oftentimes more effective in the development of long-term healthy habits, so slowly introducing healthy, low-caloric foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables while slowly eliminating sugary, high-fat items is recommended. Seniors should also cut out foods high in sodium as well as processed foods, replacing them with fresh produce.
While many seniors are aware of which foods they should be eating, making the transition to eating these foods on a regular basis can be difficult. Help your aging loved one set goals for which foods they would like to eliminate. For instance, pick a few items to cut out or cut back on. Perhaps this week, your loved one eliminates soda from the diet and tries to cut back on the amount of sugar eaten. Small goals should also be rewarded or recognized in order to provide the senior with a sense of accomplishment.
As with diet, a new exercise regimen should be introduced slowly. What many people do not realize is that exercise does not have to be extremely strenuous in order to be beneficial. For example, if your aging loved one is accustomed to a sedentary lifestyle, start taking a fifteen-minute stroll with them every evening. This activity will help your loved one get acclimated to being active. Plus, studies show that engaging in exercise with another person makes it a social engagement, and thus the individual is more likely to participate in the activity because they look forward to it. If you are unable to visit your loved one on a regular basis, perhaps it’s time to look into hourly home care in Fort Myers. With the help of a professional part-time caregiver, your loved one can enjoy exercise with a companion, while also receiving assistance with daily activities on an as-needed basis, giving you peace of mind.
As a senior is able to build their endurance, other small activities such as weightlifting can be introduced. As many fitness experts know, weightlifting is an incredibly effective way to manage weight because it increases metabolism and thereby elevates the individual’s ability to burn calories while at rest. To ensure that the weightlifting process is not too difficult for seniors, he or she should begin with light weights (2 to 3 pounds) or use resistance bands that are designed for beginners.
Interested in learning more about the best strategies for diet and exercise for the elderly? Reach out to the Fort Myers live-in care specialists at Home Care Assistance today. We provide around the clock and hourly home care for seniors, and have developed a unique approach to care, The Balanced Care Method, which focuses on promoting a healthy diet, daily exercise, cognitive stimulation, social ties and calmness and purpose for the clients we serve. Call 239-449-4701 to schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation with a friendly Care Manager today.