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How to Address Obesity in an Elderly Loved One

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Obesity can be especially problematic for aging adults. When coupled with preexisting medical conditions, limited mobility, and cognitive deficits, obesity can lead to dangerous health consequences. Fortunately, appropriately addressing your senior loved one’s obesity can reduce the risk for life-threatening health conditions so he or she can better enjoy the golden years.

Provide Healthy Foods

If you’re the sole caregiver for your loved one, providing healthy foods can help him or her shed pounds. Consuming a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet boosts metabolism so weight can be better managed. If your loved one has renal problems, talk to his or her physician before incorporating more protein into your loved one’s diet. Too much protein may be contraindicated with kidney disease and over time may raise the risk for kidney failure. 

If you’re a family caregiver who finds it challenging to have the time to plan and prepare healthy meals, consider hiring a professional caregiver for an hour or two a day or a few days a month. Some seniors need occasional assistance at home, and oftentimes the family members who take care of them need time away to run errands, take a nap, go to work, or take a vacation. North Broward respite care experts from Home Care Assistance are available on an as-needed basis, giving your family peace of mind that your loved one will remain safe and comfortable while you relax or focus on other important responsibilities.

Become an Exercise Companion

Exercise is an integral component of any weight loss program. While exercise is essential for managing obesity, seniors may find it boring to exercise alone. If your loved one avoids exercise, offer to exercise with him or her. Exercising with a partner becomes less of a chore and may even become a fun event your loved one looks forward to. When seniors see the positive effects exercise has on weight loss efforts, it may inspire them to exercise even more. Before recommending a new exercise regimen, check with your loved one’s healthcare provider to make sure an increase in activity is safe.

Even if seniors have mobility issues or health challenges, they can still exercise, especially with the help of trained professional caregivers. North Broward elder 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.

Watch for New Symptoms

If you notice your loved one is gaining significant amounts of weight, especially if not associated with an increase in calorie intake, make an appointment for a physical examination. Certain medical conditions can cause fluid retention, which may cause edema or ascites, which is the accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity. Severe ascites can lead to weight gain and cause your loved one to appear obese. Once the cause of fluid retention has been diagnosed and treated, edema and ascites may resolve. Other health conditions that may contribute to weight gain and subsequent obesity include hypothyroidism, which causes a slower metabolic rate and can make it difficult for your loved one to lose weight despite consuming the same number of calories.

Monitor for Emotional Health Issues

Seniors may develop emotional health issues such as anxiety and depression as a result of physical health conditions, mobility issues, loneliness, the loss of a spouse, or social isolation. Poor emotional health may lead to the loss of appetite or cause your loved one’s appetite to spiral out of control. If your loved one is unable to control his or her eating, obesity may develop. At the first sign of depression or anxiety, call the physician. In addition to performing a complete physical examination, the doctor may refer your loved one to a mental health professional for further evaluation and treatment. Once anxiety and depression have been treated, healthy eating patterns may return.

Many seniors who find it challenging to manage their weight on their own find that a professional caregiver can provide the reinforcement and direction they need to make lasting lifestyle changes. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of home care services. North Broward 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. Call Home Care Assistance today at 954-906-5161 to learn about our high-quality in-home care services.

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