Weight gain can cause a lot of health complications, especially for elderly people. It can also be a struggle for older people to lose weight as it might be hard for them to stay active or they might be eating out of boredom.
If your loved one is in a nursing home, then staff should also be supporting them to lose weight if they need to. You should discuss this with their careers. This can be especially difficult when residents wander, as they may find bad food to eat or they may be given food to encourage them to sit still. Elopement nursing home injuries may also be a concern.
A healthy weight is an important goal and can help elderly people to keep up their mobility and may even help their mood. To lose weight you need to burn more calories then you eat. Older people may need to eat less as they are not as active. However, it is also important that they get all of the nutrients that they need as malnutrition is common in older people.
Encourage healthy eating
Lots of vegetables will provide lots of nutrients that they need as well as meat, fish, and whole grains. Ensure that they are getting everything they need.
You can encourage them to eat well by inviting them over for dinner, or bringing them home-cooked food. Especially if they live alone, they may not be motivated to cook well for themselves or may find it challenging. Cook some of their favorite meals but keep it healthy and add some extra veg. Green veg such as broccoli or spinach is particularly beneficial.
Introduce light exercise
Light exercise is a great way to keep weight down and also releases endorphins keeping you happy. You could buy an exercise DVD aimed at older people or print off some exercises which they can look at and copy. You could sit with them and do exercises while they are getting used to it.
If they are capable, you could also take them for short walks. Getting into good habits will ensure that they keep their mobility longer. Avoid anything too strenuous which might make them unable to continue exercising.
Avoid empty calories
Avoid calories that don’t fill them up such as fruit juices or sweets. There is nothing wrong with the occasional treat but try and limit how much they have them.
You must respect their choices and encourage them to continue to feel independent and dignified. Therefore, don’t enforce too much of a tight regime.
Be open and honest with them about their weight and share any concerns that you have. Approach the topic gently and explain why it is important that they stay healthy.
They are probably aware that they have gained weight and might even be unhappy about it. They might be grateful that you have mentioned it. It could be that they want to lose weight but don’t know where to start.