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Aging adults often have a harder time preparing nutritious, good-tasting meals for themselves and their appetites may decline as meals become less frequent, which can lead to unplanned and unhealthy weight loss. In some instances, rapid and unexplained weight loss could be the result of an unidentified, underlying health issue. In addition to having a marked impact on how elderly people look, this type of weight loss can also have a number of negative effects on overall health.
The Brain Needs Fat
Insufficient fat in the diet can actually lead to significant loss of brain mass. The brain is made up of 60 percent fat and requires plenty of healthy fats for function and overall fitness. These fats are often found in fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel, however, they can also be found in coconuts, coconut oil, olive oil, avocados, and nuts.
Increased Likelihood of Sarcopenic Obesity
Obesity can occur in anyone with a disproportionate amount of body fat in comparison to lean muscle mass, regardless of physical appearance. This is known as sarcopenic obesity, and it often occurs when seniors are eating primarily processed or fast foods and not getting enough exercise or protein to support the development and maintenance of lean muscle. Although a newly slim aging adult may seem fit, he or she could be very unhealthy. Sarcopenic obesity significantly increases the likelihood of physical disability.
While people invariably require fewer calories as they age, there are some vitamins and minerals that they actually need more of. It stands to reason that if aging adults are not getting sufficient calories for meeting their energy requirements, they are not getting sufficient nutrients either. Nutritional deficiencies can cause problems like chronic depression and anxiety, confusion, fatigue, muscle spasms and a host of other issues.
Preventing and Addressing Unnecessary Weight Loss
When seniors lose marked amounts of weight in short periods of time, it is important for family members to learn more about their living conditions and self-care abilities. Albuquerque home care agencies can provide in-home support including nutritious meal preparation so that seniors always have easy access to quality and delicious foods. Encouraging seniors to eat more small-sized meals throughout the day, rather than three big ones, is a great strategy for building a healthy and robust appetite. It is also important to schedule an appointment with his or her regular doctor in order to learn whether rapid and unexplained weight loss is caused by an underlying medical condition.
For more information on senior health and wellness, turn to the dedicated staff at Home Care Assistance. Our trusted and trained caregivers in Albuquerque can grocery shop, prepare healthy meals, and assist with physical activity, helping your senior loved one maintain a high quality of living in the comfort of home. Give us a call at 505-798-0800 and schedule a complimentary in-home consultation with a friendly Care Manager.