Seniors often experience changes in their eating patterns that can have a negative impact on their health. While some seniors refuse food, others start to overeat. Watching as your aging loved one consumes too many calories or chooses fatty foods may be upsetting when you know it can shorten his or her life span. When your loved one faces challenges with self-control around food, these five tips can help you get his or her diet back on track.
1. Check Medication Side Effects
If overeating is a new behavior for your loved one, it’s possible there’s something else contributing to the eating habits. Medication is a common culprit in overeating, since certain types of medication can generate increased hunger as a side effect. Steroids in particular are known to cause people to feel intense hunger. Find out if your loved one has recently started taking any new medications, and mention the symptom to the doctor to see if any adjustments can be made.
2. Look for a Physical or Emotional Cause
Certain health conditions can also cause overeating to occur. For instance, Alzheimer’s disease can cause seniors to forget they ate earlier. They may begin to eat multiple meals each day without realizing they’re consuming too many calories. Emotional health issues, such as depression, can also cause seniors to eat as a way to feel better. Observe your loved one’s other behaviors to see if there may be a clue as to why he or she is overeating. In some cases, a visit to the doctor may be necessary to get physical or mental health conditions diagnosed and 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. Montgomery, AL, 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.
3. Replace Unhealthy Foods with Better Options
It’s possible your loved one just really enjoys eating. If he or she insists on snacking throughout the day, try replacing unhealthy foods with better options. For instance, you could substitute veggie trays for chips to provide the crunch your loved one craves. Alternatively, low-sugar treats are better to snack on than baked processed foods such as cookies.
In Montgomery, elderly home care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy.
4. Provide Companionship During Meals
People who eat with others tend to make healthier choices regarding food. Your loved one may overeat during the day due to skipping meals and getting excessively hungry or consuming food too quickly without having someone else around. Eating with a companion may slow down your loved one’s eating, since he or she will be busy talking, giving the body more time to digest food and send signals that he or she is full.
5. Encourage Plenty of Activity During the Day
Boredom is another common reason for people to overeat. If your loved one is snacking in front of the television, he or she may just need more things to do. Try to find activities that require moving the body and using the hands so your loved one cannot eat during that time. Gardening, sewing, and building things are a few ways to keep your loved one too busy to eat.
Professional caregivers with training in nutrition and healthy habits can be a wonderful source of information and encouragement for seniors who need help eating less. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of home care services. Montgomery 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. Reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (334) 593-3988 to learn more about our high-quality home care services.