In the New Year, many people are thinking about starting new healthy habits to carry them through the rest of the year. In fact, 23% of people make their New Year’s resolutions about maintaining a healthier lifestyle, and 20% are about losing weight. How appropriate that National Healthy Weight Week is this January to help us stick to our new goals!
Maintaining a healthy weight is especially important for seniors. With more complex medical needs compared to other age groups, it can negatively impact seniors’ health to be over or underweight. Unfortunately, seniors can also find it more difficult to access healthy, nutritious meals or get enough moderate exercise. This makes it more important to concentrate on building positive habits for Healthy Weight Week this year.
What is a Healthy Weight for Seniors?
“Healthy weight” might seem like a straightforward term. However, the reality is that while being at either extreme of the spectrum is likely to cause problems, there’s a lot of flexibility in what “healthy” means. Your body might be naturally inclined to carry more weight than someone else’s–or maybe you’ve always been a bit of a beanpole. Either way, maintaining a healthy weight doesn’t mean rigidly enforcing a specific body type. It’s about finding the right balance of a nutritious diet, regular exercise, and health considerations to ensure you live life to the fullest.
What Are the Concerns for Overweight Seniors?
Seniors who are obese may face some health difficulties. In addition, obese seniors are much more likely to be severely disabled and require the help of a family member or caregiver in their daily lives; they’re also far more likely to have chronic conditions and depression. With these difficulties, seniors at higher weight thresholds are at a greater risk of:
These severe health concerns make it essential for seniors to maintain a healthy weight. But being underweight presents some health concerns as well.
Low Weight is Also an Issue
When most people think about maintaining a healthy weight, their first thought is often about avoiding becoming overweight. But for seniors especially, being underweight can present many health challenges. Healthy Weight Week isn’t about losing weight; it’s about maintaining the best weight for your personal health. For seniors, that might actually mean they need to gain more weight to be at an ideal range.
Many seniors might experience unwanted weight loss as they get older, which can result from many causes. Some medications may reduce appetite, cause nausea, or otherwise impact a person’s eating. Other illnesses can have similar effects on weight and appetite. In addition, many seniors experience a decline in their sense of taste over the years, which can make eating less appetizing. Lastly, many seniors might not have the energy to cook for themselves or make trips to the grocery to stock the fridge. All these factors make it difficult for some seniors to maintain a healthy weight.
Being underweight can present the following health challenges:
- Weakened immune system.
- Increased risk of nutrient deficiency.
- Higher risk of falling, and worse outcomes after a fall takes place.
- Difficulty recovering from strokes and other illnesses.
With these concerns in mind, how can seniors maintain a healthy weight?
Best Ways to Maintain a Healthy Weight
It’s clear that a person’s weight can significantly impact their overall health outlook. So what are the ways seniors can reach or maintain the ideal weight for their health?
- Moderate exercise. It’s simple, but one of the best ways to stay at a healthy weight is by ensuring you get enough exercise. Many seniors with mobility issues might feel that exercise is impossible for them, but not all activities can (or should) be high-impact or rigorous. Swimming is an excellent option for people with mobility problems or joint pain; gardening is another way to get some moderate exercise and time outdoors without leaving your own home or yard. A 20-minute walk daily can also make a huge difference in your health.
- Eat well. For the reasons stated above, many seniors can struggle to eat regular, nutritious meals. Trying out new or flavorful recipes, ensuring you have enough groceries in the house, and relying on the help of a family member or caregiver to pitch in at mealtimes can help overcome these hurdles.
- Avoid smoking and alcohol. These habits are not only bad for your health overall, they can also contribute to weight gain.
If you’re struggling to reach or remain at a healthy weight, an in-home caregiver may be able to help you stick to your new healthy habits. In-home caregivers can assist with mobility, cooking and clean up, and provide support and companionship on your healthy weight journey.
About Generations Home Care
Generations Home Care personalized in-home care and support services help those recovering from illness, injury, or surgery, living with a chronic disease, or dealing with the natural process of aging. We help people live a fuller, healthier, and independent life.
Our caregivers are trained in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended COVID-19 safety precautions. We offer levels of care ranging from companionship, to respite for the primary family caregiver, to homemaking services, to assistance with activities of daily living, to Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Generations Home Care takes a holistic approach and emphasizes a consistent, client-centered plan of care.
Our Specialty Services Include:
- Rehab or hospital-to-home programs for safe discharge.
- Short-term post-operative care during recovery periods.
- Non-medical life management services for people with chronic conditions.
- Veteran’s connection to care program.
- Live-in services and couples care.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you, contact us today at 602-595-HOME (4663) or by filling out the contact form on our website.