A sudden dramatic weight loss can indicate an underlying medical issue in an aging adult. Typically, sudden weight loss occurs when seniors lose more than 5 percent of their total body weight within a month. Finding the cause of the weight loss is an important step in protecting your aging loved one’s health.
Mood disorders like anxiety and depression can have an impact on appetite, leading to weight loss in some seniors. Usually, mood disorders are recognizable if you know the symptoms. For instance, depression causes symptoms such as loss of interest in hobbies, withdrawal from friends and family, and changes in sleeping or eating habits. Mood disorders are often treatable with medication, therapy, or a combination of the two.
Type 2 diabetes can cause sudden weight loss, even if your loved one is eating as much or more than usual. The early signs of type 2 diabetes include headache, vision changes, and increased thirst or hunger. Blood and urine tests are available to diagnose and help seniors address this disease. Treatment can include medication and lifestyle changes, such as eating a low-sugar diet.
Seniors may lose weight as a result of changes in their mobility. Those with mobility issues may not be able to exercise or perform their daily routines without help, resulting in reduced appetite. Less activity also causes a loss in muscle mass, affecting overall weight and energy levels. If your loved one needs to exercise more, consider enrolling him or her in a seniors-only exercise class. Exercise boosts metabolism and encourages a healthier appetite.
Gastrointestinal problems can range from constipation to abdominal cancer. If you suspect your loved one has digestive issues, make an appointment with the doctor. Tests can rule out diseases like cancer. You should expect to monitor your loved one’s food intake and bathroom habits to determine the underlying cause of the weight loss. Treatment for minor digestive issues can be as simple as adding more fiber to your loved one’s diet.
If you discover your loved one’s weight loss is the result of a disease or chronic health issue, he or she can continue to remain in the comfort of home with the help of a caregiver. Living with serious health conditions can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Harrisburg seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.
Prescription medicines can affect appetite and weight. Keeping a food diary can help you make sure your loved one is getting enough calories to maintain his or her goal weight. List all beverages, including water, in the diary. Talk to a nutritionist for help if your loved one has difficulty eating enough calories to maintain his or her weight. A nutritionist can also identify malnutrition, a condition that causes sudden weight loss in aging adults.
Malnutrition is a serious concern for seniors who have difficulty maintaining a healthy weight. The doctor may recommend supplements to fill nutritional gaps in your loved one’s diet. Avoid using supplements without consulting the doctor first. Some medicines interact with supplements, making the combination dangerous for seniors taking prescription medicines. With careful planning, you can create a menu that meets your loved one’s nutritional needs and helps him or her maintain a healthy weight.
No matter what’s causing the weight loss, it may be a good time to look into hiring a professional caregiver to help your loved one stay as healthy as possible while aging in place. In Harrisburg, elder care
agenciesTo hire a dedicated caregiver, call Home Care at
(717) 540-4663 today.