Unlike many younger adults who seek to lose weight, many seniors need to increase their weight and maintain it at a higher level. Older adults typically lose muscle and their appetite decreases, causing weight loss. Moreover, because of the limited mobility and lack of social interaction often encountered with age, seniors may continue to lose too much weight, which can lead to serious mental and physical issues. Here are some healthy ways to help underweight seniors gain weight and keep it on.
Encourage Lifestyle Changes
Seniors can gain weight by increasing their amount of exercise, as this will motivate them to eat more. You should remove any psychological barriers to eating, such as social isolation. Encourage your loved one to eat meals with other people. Some older adults aren’t able to make it to the grocery store, so if this is the case with your parent, arrange to have your loved one’s meals delivered.
Even if seniors have mobility issues or health challenges, they can still get the benefits of exercise and socialization, especially with the help of trained professional caregivers. Barrie in-home care professionals can be a wonderful boon to seniors. Whether they require around-the-clock supervision or just need assistance with exercise and household tasks a few days a week, seniors can enjoy a higher quality of life with the help of trusted in-home caregivers.
Add Higher-Calorie Foods
Eating foods with a higher level of calories is an excellent way to increase weight in seniors. It’s common for seniors to have a low appetite, and they usually can’t eat as much food as they did when they were younger. Older adults should eat nuts, beans, bananas, avocados, pasta, seeds, dried fruit, coconut-based foods, trail mix, dairy products, potatoes, rice, whole grains, soups, pudding, smoothies, and similar foods that are high in calories, rich in nutrients, and easy to consume.
In addition, make sure your loved one eats plenty of protein. There are many foods that contain high protein levels, such as eggs, almonds (and other nuts, but almonds are the best), fish, chicken, cheeses (especially cottage cheese), oats, yogurt, milk, beans, spinach, and eggplant.
Aging in place can present a few unique challenges for older adults. Some only require part-time assistance with exercise or meal preparation, while others are living with serious illnesses and benefit more significantly from receiving live-in care. Barrie, ON, Home Care Assistance are leaders in the elderly in-home care industry for good reason. We tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual needs, our caregivers continue to receive updated training in senior care as new developments arise, and we also offer comprehensive care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s.
Try increasing the number of meals per day to five or six small ones instead of the ordinary three to increase the amount of calories in your senior loved one’s diet. It’s best to spread the meals out evenly throughout the day and break them up into main meals and nutritious snacks in between. Additionally, the longer the food is cooked, the more tender and easier it will be to eat, especially if your loved one has a dental disorder. Soft, fresh, easy-to-prepare whole foods can also increase calorie intake. Plan meals that are easy to prepare or reheat and are easy to make in large batches, such as brown rice, beans, and other legumes. You can make several servings at a time and store them for your loved one to make up a meal in a few minutes. Having weekly meals prepared ahead of time gives your loved one something to look forward to as well.
Augment Diet with Nutritional Supplements
Consuming nutritional supplements like ready-to-drink beverages or powders fortified with vitamins and minerals is another good way for older adults to boost calories and nutrition. You can get these without a prescription, and they’re readily available. Ingesting nutritional supplements between or during meals is easy for seniors to do and a great way to gain back weight. You can add nutritional supplements to liquids for quick, easy, and healthy snacks.
Professional caregivers with training in nutrition and healthy habits can be a wonderful source of information and encouragement for seniors who need to gain weight. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of home care services. Barrie families 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. Home Care Assistance can be your trusted partner in caregiving for your aging loved one. Contact one of our experienced Care Managers today at 705-503-2273 to learn more about our reliable in-home care services.