Why Is My Older Parent Suddenly Losing Weight?

By 9  am on
Older adults commonly lose some weight as they age due to loss of muscle mass secondary to reduced physical activity. However, if seniors unexpectedly lose five percent or more of their body weight in six months or less, there may be an underlying medical cause. Family members noticing the change should evaluate possible causes and consult with a healthcare provider.

Depression

Statistics show up to 20 percent of seniors over the age of 65 experience depression. The problem may occur as a result of losing a significant other, living with a chronic medical condition, experiencing a side effect of a medication, or living in isolation. As the condition progresses, your older loved one may no longer have the desire to eat. He or she may also cry frequently, seem lethargic, or lack a general enthusiasm for life. Try to determine the cause for the depression. Attend a medical appointment with your loved one to learn if the condition is caused by medications or a medical condition. Accompany your loved one on a visit to a local senior center or a church service, and encourage him or her to make new friends and contacts.  If any of your loved one’s issues are related to depression, loneliness, or anxiety, he or she may benefit from professional home care for a few hours a day or a few days a week. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of senior home care. You 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.

Cognitive or Physical Limitations

A senior who is having physical difficulties that prevent him or her from going grocery shopping or preparing meals may be in need of assistance. A cognitively impaired senior may forget how to shop or prepare meals. Consider doing the shopping for your loved one. Along with stocking up on main meal ingredients, buy healthy snack items that require no preparation. Preparing the meals ensures your loved one consumes a healthy diet.

Cancer

Unusual weight loss is often one of the first signs of cancer in older adults. The variety of cancers often diagnosed in aging adults include breast, colon, lung, prostate, and stomach cancer. Seniors might also be experiencing other symptoms specific to the regions of the body affected. Physical examinations and blood and imaging studies enable healthcare professionals to pinpoint the types of cancer seniors might have. Physicians are then able to provide treatment options.  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 24-hour care. Palm Beach seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.

Diabetes

If an older adult has undiagnosed diabetes, insufficient insulin prevents sugar-based nutrients from entering the cells. The body is then forced to burn fat and other tissues for fuel, which causes weight loss. Along with weight loss, seniors with diabetes commonly experience generalized fatigue, excessive thirst, hunger, and frequent voiding. A simple blood test performed in the physician’s office can determine your loved one’s blood sugar levels. Depending on the severity of the condition, your loved one may need to take oral medications or begin insulin injections. Diabetics must also adhere to a specific diet. A diabetic senior who doesn’t make the effort to control blood sugar levels may also experience weight loss and hyperglycemic symptoms. Your loved one may need assistance to ensure he or she is adhering to treatment protocols and dietary regimens. No matter what is 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 Palm Beach, homecare agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy. If your loved one needs assistance with the challenges of aging, reach out to one of our knowledgeable, compassionate Care Managers today at (561) 429-8292.

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR BLOG

Request Free Information or
Schedule a Free in-Home Consultation