Unintentional Weight Loss in Elderly

September 8, 2018
Janelle Thomas MSN, RN
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Unexpected weight loss can be a cause for concern for your elderly loved ones. If there’s no reason you can point to, such as a change in diet or a new exercise program, then there could be a medical reason. If your loved one wasn’t overweight to begin with, you need to try to stop the weight loss.

4 Tips for Helping Seniors Suffering from Unintentional Weight Loss

1. Talk to Your Loved One’s Doctor Right Away

As soon as you notice that your loved one is losing weight, schedule an appointment with their doctor.

Their doctor can help determine what could be causing the weight loss. If it’s a combination of medications or something that is easily correctable, then their doctor can put you on the right path from the start.

From there, you can try other techniques to deal with issues such as loss of appetite or difficulty chewing.

2. Stick to a Meal Schedule

Your loved one is likely skipping meals, snacks, or both. If your loved one isn’t hungry when mealtime rolls around, it’s easier for them to shrug it off and say they’ll eat later.

If they are experiencing unexpected weight loss, this needs to change.

Start encouraging them to eat even a little bit at mealtime, even if they don’t eat a full meal. If they are not eating much, then serving more frequent meals can help with this.

3. Look for Alternatives to Solid Foods If Your Loved One Won’t Eat

Sometimes there are other problems, such as difficulty chewing or swallowing, that can be lurking behind your loved one’s weight loss.

It can be helpful to add in meal replacement shakes, full milkshakes, or smoothies instead of foods that your loved one needs to chew or swallow.

Other soft foods, such as pudding, mashed potatoes, or soft pasta dishes can also be helpful.

Experiment to find the right combination for your elderly loved one.

4. Serve Both Meals and Snacks

Sometimes the simple fact of the matter is that your loved one just isn’t eating enough. It may be time to start making sure that you’re serving both full meals and snacks all day long for your loved one.

Enlist the help of senior care providers to make sure that snacks and meals are on the menu all day long, even when you have to be elsewhere. Keep snacks on hand that are healthy but that you know your loved one will enjoy.

Contact Care Options for Kids for Home Health Care Services

It’s shocking when your loved one starts losing weight without warning, but with time and patience, you can help them return to a healthy weight.

If you or an aging loved one are considering home health care services, contact the caring staff at Care Options for Kids. Call today at (888) 592-5855.

Mayo Clinic