Anorexia Not Only a Young Persons’ Disease

By February 27, 2014Archives

It’s no surprise that time has a major effect on the body. Couple it with the everyday stress of life and you have what scientists like to call aging. Aging can have many different effects on the body, and it doesn’t take a top-notch doctor to diagnose it. Perhaps your hair might get a little thin on top; maybe it turns a little gray; or those crow’s feet around your eyes are getting a little more prominent?

Whatever it may be, aging shows signs of wisdom and understanding. The elderly have a lot of knowledge on life, because they’ve experienced more of it than we have. However, because of this, it may shock you to know that eating disorders are becoming more and more prominent within the elderly community, and this week, February 23 through March 1st is Eating Disorder Awareness Week. Please do not overlook such a disorder among your elderly loved one. Age plays no role in this disease.

There are a lot of reasons for your parent or grandparent to develop such a habit. Youth is like catching a beautiful song bird. It’s in your hands for only a little while, and once you finally appreciate its full beauty, it flies away. The desire to hold on to one’s youth is strong. Many elderly people try to deny the fact that age has caught up with them. The additional weight adds to their bodily dissatisfaction and with all the other complications that come with aging, excuses such as, “I have no appetite,” “I feel sick,” or “I’m not hungry” are accepted. According to Remuda Ranch, a facility dedicated to helping those with eating disorders, “The majority of deaths from anorexia nervosa occur in people over age 65.” The myth that eating disorders only occur in the younger crowd can be debunked. It is a problem that occurs in all age groups.

So, please, if your elderly loved one is feeling weak, dizzy, or just not up to par; if they’re losing weight at a rapid pace, do not rule out anorexia. It is a serious disease that requires treatment, medication, and tons of support. My grandfather turns eighty-five this year. Within his life he has lived through The Great Depression, witnessed a world war, survived all violent and peaceful protests of Vietnam, saw the Two Towers collapse, and had the love of his life pass away from cancer. No one said life was easy, but with each other’s help, we can make it better for one another.

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