Unintentional weight loss is defined by most medical specialists as a 5 percent to 10% drop in body weight over 1 to 12 months, and more particularly, a 5 percent loss over 6 months.
This may happen to seniors for a variety of reasons, including the normal aging process. Muscle atrophy, cell loss in the liver and kidneys, and decreased bone density are all common beyond the age of 30.
Furthermore, tissue loss diminishes the body’s water content.
Other problems that accompany aging might make it more difficult for elders to maintain a healthy weight. Continue to read and we will share more details with you.
Why did I lose weight when getting older?
The reasons you experience unintentional weight loss along with age include:
- Loneliness and Social isolation
- Effect of medication
- chronic illnesses
- mental disorders
- And lack of day-to-day activities holds a prominent place out of them. Continue to read for we share additional details with you on this topic.
1. Loneliness and social isolation
Weight loss in elderly loved ones that is unexplained or unintended might signal loneliness or isolation.
Loneliness and social isolation may result in a lack of appetite or inclination to cook and prepare meals, resulting in weight loss. Social isolation may cause sadness, which is linked to weight loss.
2. Effects of medication
For seniors, the side effects of some drugs are a significant cause of weight loss. Polypharmacy (taking numerous drugs) has been demonstrated to promote anorexia and interfere with taste.
Alternate taste or smell, dry mouth, nausea, and vomiting are some adverse effects of drugs widely used by seniors that might induce weight loss.
3. Chronic illnesses
Weight loss in seniors may be caused by chronic diseases such as cancer and dementia. Cancer accounts for 24 percent to 38 percent of all occurrences of unintended weight loss in seniors.
Dementia may also affect taste and smell sensations, reducing appetite. Parkinson’s disease, thyroid problems, uncontrolled diabetes, gastrointestinal problems, and heart disease are among chronic conditions that may cause weight loss.
4. Mental disorders
Depression and mental disorders are often accompanied by weight loss.
Weight loss is a common indication of mental illness in persons with bipolar, personality, and anxiety disorders. Weight loss in seniors might sometimes suggest drug or alcohol misuse.
5. Lack of day-to-day activities
With age, one’s capacity to execute ADLs may deteriorate. Trips to the grocery store need more preparation and work when elders quit driving.
Cooking a nutritious dinner and keeping healthy ingredients stocked in the cupboard may be tricky.
Grocery shopping and keeping a balanced calorie intake might become challenging to manage when daily living skills become more difficult.
6. Functional challenges
Weight loss might also indicate that your loved one is having difficulty feeding oneself. Perhaps they no longer have the energy to cook, or perhaps they are afraid of using the stove.
Inability to feed oneself may indicate that your loved one needs assisted living or the help of an in-home caregiver. You may also make it simpler and safer for yourself to prepare nutritious meals.
Consider completing your loved one’s grocery shopping for them to ensure they have nutritious food on hand at all times.
Ready-to-eat snacks, such as full-fat yogurt cups, cheese sticks, peanut butter and crackers, and meal replacement shakes, should be kept on hand.
You might also make meals ahead of time and freeze them in containers for your loved one to reheat in the microwave.
Before assuming that weight loss is related to functional challenges alone, any senior who has suffered unexplained weight loss should see a doctor. Unfortunately, in older adults, weight loss is often the first visible indicator of cancer.
The sooner cancer is detected, the better the prognosis – so don’t wait to see whether additional symptoms appear.
Lung cancer, colon cancer, stomach cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer are the most frequent malignancies among older persons.
These malignancies should be checked for on a frequent basis in your loved one. Make sure the senior maintains their screening visits by consulting with their doctor.
8. Poorly managed diabetes
If your loved one has diabetes, losing weight might indicate that they are not appropriately managing their disease.
Sugar will not be able to enter the body’s cells if they do not use enough insulin, forcing the body to burn its own tissues for fuel. To ensure that your loved one takes their diabetic meds correctly, they may need home care.
Get help when you notice unintentional weight loss as a senior
Unintentional weight loss is a typical occurrence among seniors, although it is often linked to poor health.
Seeking medical help for unintended weight loss is critical for early management and may potentially lead to the diagnosis of underlying medical problems.
In general, if you lose 5% or more of your body weight in 6–12 months, you should seek medical assistance.
A doctor may go over your medical history, do a physical check, and possibly request blood tests or body scans to rule out any potential reasons of weight loss.
How to avoid unintended weight loss and maintain a healthy weight as you age.
While older persons are prone to unintended weight loss, there are actions that may be taken to avoid weight loss and maintain a healthy weight as they age.
- Establish and stick to a regular fitness plan.
- Every day, eat breakfast
- Choose foods that are rich in protein and high in fiber
- Keep yourself hydrated.
- Develop close bonds with family and friends.
- Join a walking group to make exercise more enjoyable.
- Make good sleep habits a priority.
- Sugars and other “empty calories” should be avoided.
- Strength training should be a part of your workout program.
- Consider moving into a senior living facility.
If you can adhere to the tips we shared here , weight gain would not be a challenge as you grow old. Consider moving to senior housing if controlling your weight and making nutritious meals seem impossible.
Our communities include a variety of elder care services, as well as an on-site restaurant with a diversified menu, seasonal options, fresh and locally produced foods, and a vibrant social calendar–all of which are intended to help seniors live and eat well.