Even though obesity is a pervasive problem among the aging population, being underweight is extremely common as well. When older adults don’t eat enough nutrients and calories each day, they could begin to face challenges with a long list of medical complications, ranging from anemia to osteoporosis. If your aging loved one has been told by a doctor that he or she is underweight, it’s time to come up with a comprehensive dietary plan to help your loved one safely gain weight.
Check for Underlying Health Problems
It’s perfectly natural for a senior’s weight to fluctuate over the years, but you need to keep an eye out for major changes in your loved one’s weight or appetite. As a general rule, you should contact a doctor if your loved one unintentionally loses more than four percent of his or her total body weight within a year. Sudden weight loss can be caused by many different medical issues, and you must make sure your loved one doesn’t have any serious health problems that need to be treated.
Aging in place can present a few unique challenges for older adults. Some only require part-time assistance with exercise or meal preparation, while others are living with serious illnesses and benefit more significantly from receiving live-in care. Fort Myers, FL, Home Care Assistance are leaders in the elderly in-home care industry for good reason. We tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual needs, our caregivers continue to receive updated training in senior care as new developments arise, and we also offer comprehensive care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s.
Stick to High-Calorie Foods
To help your loved one gain weight, you’ll most likely need to make some sweeping changes to his or her diet. That being said, your loved one shouldn’t fill up on unhealthy treats to gain weight. Nutrient-dense foods filled with complex carbohydrates and healthy fats can help your loved one gain weight without compromising his or her general wellness. Some of the best food options for those who are trying to gain weight include avocados, nut butters, whole-grain breads, sweet potatoes, and quinoa.
A professional caregiver can help your loved one plan and prepare nutritious meals. Senior home care professionals can be a wonderful boon to seniors. Whether they require around-the-clock supervision or just need assistance with exercise and household tasks a few days a week, seniors can enjoy a higher quality of life with the help of trusted in-home caregivers.
In addition to offering nutrient-dense and high-calorie foods, you might also want to consider giving your loved one supplements. There are many different supplements on the market, and some of these products have been specifically designed to help people gain weight. Giving your loved one a blended protein shake every afternoon could easily provide thousands of extra calories per week.
Create Mealtime Routines
One of the reasons many older adults lose weight is because they simply lose interest in eating. When seniors don’t have regular mealtime routines, they might only have small snacks or forget to eat entirely. Creating a mealtime routine can help your loved one get into the habit of sitting down and having a full meal. You might also want to turn mealtimes into social affairs so your loved one looks forward to gathering around the table with other family members.
Even though rigorous exercise is closely associated with losing weight, physical activity can boost the appetite as well. Many seniors who have sedentary lifestyles completely lose their appetites, which can result in malnutrition and other major problems. Engaging in mildly strenuous activities a few times a week could increase the appetite as well as overall health.
Professional caregivers with training in nutrition and healthy habits can be a wonderful source of information and encouragement for seniors who need to gain weight. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of elder 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 help with the challenges of aging, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (239) 449-4701.