Many seniors lose weight as they age. It can occur because of a reduction in appetite, a loss of taste, or even a loss of interest in eating. Sometimes it can also signal a serious health condition. If your aging loved one has lost significant weight recently, she should be examined to find the root cause, and that can be treated with the goal of increasing her weight coming behind it.
But if your loved one is otherwise healthy, but finds herself at a dangerously low weight, you might want to work with her and her regular physician to help her increase her weight. A healthy weight will help your loved one’s immune system operate better, and provide her with an all-around healthier life.
Gaining weight for some can be just as difficult as losing weight for others. So start small and work on increasing her calorie load by making different food choices, as well as looking at how she eats. Having an elder care provider that assists with food prep and even companionship can help her make choices that will become lifestyle changes and have a positive impact on her weight.
Here are a few ways to start, as you help your loved one gain weight.
Eat lean, high-quality protein
Weight loss is often attributed to muscle loss, and lean protein can help your loved one’s body rebuild its muscle mass. Even healthy-weight individuals need to increase protein intake as they age. An easy snack is low-fat cottage cheese, which has a lot of protein without a ton of fat. Hard-boiled eggs can also be an easy way to have a snack that isn’t too filling. It also provides plenty of protein. Have your elder care provider help by boiling up some eggs at the beginning of each week. Then, your parent to grab and add to her salads, on a sandwich, or just to snack on.
Increase how much healthy fat your loved one consumes
Nuts are a great source of healthy fat and protein. They make an easy snack to bring along on a walk or while running errands with her senior care provider. Your loved one can also sprinkle some sunflower seeds or almonds on top of salads. It adds a little crunch, along with the calories they provide.
Try a smoothie a day
Find what flavor profile your loved one enjoys, and help her create calorie-rich smoothies she can enjoy each day. Smoothies are great for those who don’t have much appetite, and they can help ensure they stay hydrated. Find healthy fats and high-calorie items to make the smoothie, such as Greek yogurt, whey protein, and peanut butter. Adding in some antioxidant-rich berries can add flavor and help her body absorb the other nutrients in the smoothie.
Maintaining a healthy weight is important for your loved one. So keep encouraging new choices in her diet, so she can gain the weight she needs.