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How to Help Your Older Loved One Manage Obesity

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Obesity can raise the risk for serious health issues in the elderly, including cardiovascular disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, and renal disease. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help your senior loved one manage obesity.

Encourage Exercise

If your loved one lives a sedentary lifestyle, he or she may have difficulty managing obesity. Increasing physical activity burns calories so weight can be better managed. Elderly people who have mobility issues or serious health conditions don’t need to engage in strenuous exercise to reap the weight loss benefits of increased activity. Simply taking a short, leisurely walk boosts metabolism so your loved one can lose weight.

Even if seniors have mobility issues or health challenges, they can still exercise, especially with the help of a trained professional caregiver. Clearwater 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.

Monitor Medication Side Effects

Ask your loved one’s physician if medication side effects might be a contributing factor to obesity. Certain medications such as those used to treat hypothyroidism and high blood pressure can slow metabolism, making weight loss a challenge. Other medications that can either slow weight loss or cause weight gain include antihistamines, anti-anxiety medications, certain pain medications, antidepressants, antipsychotics, and oral steroids.

Treat Health Conditions

Certain medical disorders, such as low thyroid function, can cause weight gain or slow weight loss progress. If your loved one experiences fatigue, hair loss, constipation, weight gain, or voice changes, see his or her physician. These symptoms may be indicative of hypothyroidism. A simple thyroid panel blood test can alert the physician to abnormalities in thyroid hormones, and if the test results reveal the presence of hypothyroidism, appropriate medication can be prescribed. Once thyroid hormones have been normalized, your loved one’s weight loss issues may resolve.

Another health condition that may contribute to obesity is osteoarthritis. This degenerative condition is painful and may cause limited mobility. If your loved one is unable to walk or move around freely, he or she may gain weight. Once arthritis-related pain has been treated with physical therapy or medication, mobility may increase, allowing your loved one to participate in regular exercise once again. 

Living with a serious health condition 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. Clearwater seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.

Watch for Depression

Depression isn’t uncommon in elderly people, and it can cause changes in sleep patterns and behavior as well as appetite changes. While some seniors with depression may lose their appetites, others may overeat and obesity may develop, raising the risk for heart attack, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. If you notice appetite, sleep, or behavioral changes in your loved one, make an appointment with the physician. After organic causes have been ruled out, the doctor may suspect psychological causes, such as depression or anxiety. If so, your loved one may be referred to a mental health professional for further evaluation and treatment. Once depression has been effectively treated, your loved one’s eating patterns may return to normal.

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 senior care. Clearwater 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 you need professional home care for your loved one, reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (727) 330-7862.