How to Help a Senior Loved One Gain Weight

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Weight loss in aging adults can lead to serious health consequences. It’s essential that at the first sign of weight loss, you take steps to help your senior loved one gain weight so nutritional deficiencies can be prevented. Here are some effective ways to help aging adults gain weight.

Serve Small, Frequent Meals

Because the appetite can change as people age, elderly people may be unable to tolerate large meals. It’s for this reason that smaller, more frequent meals should be offered. Eating less food more frequently throughout the day can help your loved one gain weight because he or she won’t feel bloated and too full from consuming large, heavy meals. While it’s important that the meals you serve your loved one contain adequate amounts of protein and carbohydrates, they shouldn’t be too sugary, salty, or fatty. These types of meals may lead to gastrointestinal distress in certain individuals. 

Cooking nutritious meals is just one of the many challenges seniors face as they age. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of home care Montgomery, AL, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Promote Exercise

A sedentary lifestyle or limited mobility may reduce your loved one’s caloric needs, and therefore, he or she may not feel hungry often. Exercising may increase your loved one’s caloric needs, and he or she may feel hungrier throughout the day. While exercise may encourage your loved one to eat more and gain weight, talk to your loved one’s doctor before recommending a new exercise program. 

Exercising is a crucial component of remaining independent while aging in place. Living independently is important for seniors who want to maintain a high quality of life. For some, this simply means receiving help with tasks that have become more challenging to manage over time. Even when families have the best intentions, they may not have the time to provide the care their elderly loved ones need and deserve. If your loved one needs help for a few hours a day or a few days a week, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of respite care Montgomery, Alabama, seniors can depend on.

Provide Dietary Supplements

Nutritional shakes or meal replacement bars can help your loved one gain weight. These products are nutritionally dense and often high in calories, and they’re great in-between snacks that can significantly add to a person’s daily caloric intake. Many dietary supplements are high in protein, and while protein is an important part of a senior’s daily diet, consuming too much may not be recommended for those who have renal conditions.

Consider Prescription Medication

Your loved one’s physician may recommend taking prescription appetite-boosting medications to feel hungrier and promote weight gain. Appetite enhancers are typically reserved for those who don’t respond to other interventions such as exercise, small frequent meals, and commercially available dietary supplements.

Resolve Mood Disorders

Failure to gain weight may be the result of a mental health disorder. Many seniors lose their appetites because of depression, high stress levels, anxiety, and loneliness. If you notice changes in your loved one’s behaviors alongside losing weight, make an appointment with his or her physician to perform a comprehensive physical examination. If necessary, the doctor may refer your loved one to a mental health professional for additional treatment. Once mood disorders have been recognized and treated, your loved one is likely to regain a hearty appetite and gain weight.

Helping a senior maintain a healthy weight can be challenging for family caregivers. Families who need help caring for a senior loved one can turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Montgomery homecare. Services available in our customizable care plans include meal prep, mental and social stimulation, assistance with personal hygiene tasks, and much more. To schedule a complimentary consultation, give us a call today at (334) 593-3988.

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