Despite conventional wisdom, weight loss is not a normal part of the aging process. We are not supposed to wither away in old age. Weight loss begins to occur as your loved ones age from a lack of vitamins and nutrients, which can be both upsetting and frustrating to witness. Older adults become more susceptible to weight loss with age because their stomachs do not digest as fast as they once did, and the excitement of eating begins to diminish as sight, smell and taste wane.
Have you ever asked your mom or dad how they are doing and wonder if the answer “I’m doing just fine”; but is that true? In those instances, a little covert inspection can be very helpful!
Whether aging individuals wish to acknowledge it or not, bodies tend to slow down, mobility can become an issue and everyday tasks can require extra effort. There are several signs that might point toward the possibility that a friend or loved one may need assistance and what's inside the fridge is a one of them.
- Is there food in the refrigerator? Your elderly loved one may be having difficulty getting to the grocery store or preparing his or her own meals. This may be a sign that it’s time to make other arrangements to ensure he is getting proper nutrition.
- Check the labels. Are there foods that have expired? Finding an occasional expired item may not be cause for concern but you’ll soon find out whether this is a rare occurrence or a sign of a bigger issue. Perhaps your loved one is depressed or he/she simply forgets to eat. Another common reason foods expire could be that he forgot what he bought and doesn’t cook enough to notice.
- Is the food in the fridge healthy and nutritious? Sometimes they may not take the time to prepare a meal or simply snacks. Living on junk food or skipping meals altogether can lead to other health concerns.
Your loved one's appetite may be suppressed for a number of reasons including cancer treatments, medications, depression or physical pain, to name a few. If your loved one is having trouble eating or has begun to experience weight loss, the following may help reignite their appetite:
- Encourage smaller portions
- Add calories via healthy fats or protein powders
- Add softer foods like puddings, soups, yogurts
- Add spices to make the food more favorable
As we age it’s still vital to eat a well-balanced, healthy diet. Take a look in the fridge and see what you find. You may be pleasantly surprised, or you may find its time to consider a few care options for your loved one.