When a person thinks of the issues facing the elderly, what comes to mind? Usually one thinks of diseases affecting the mind such as Alzheimer’s, or dementia, vitamin deficiencies, and maybe depression due to loss or isolation. But what about obesity? It seems to be an issue that doesn’t get attention and that no one talks about. The fact of the matter is that the rate of obesity among seniors rose to approximately 25 percent in 2010, when it was just 14.7 percent in 2000.
It’s obvious that obesity isn’t healthy for anyone, young or old. Especially in the long term. There is a higher risk of diabetes, as well as high blood pressure and heart disease. The impaired mobility that comes with obesity can lead to slips, falls, and back pain. Arthritis can rear its ugly head.
However, as anyone who actually is obese can tell you, it seems like a one-way road. Once a person has become obese, it’s not just an accident, or something that happened overnight. Quite the opposite, it’s a lifetime of choices and specific eating habits. Changing these habits, and making the choices required to lose weight can be extraordinarily hard for someone who is used to eating and living their daily life a certain way. It’s not unlike trying to beat an addiction.
It goes without saying that healthier eating habits will assist in weight loss. Avoiding fatty foods loaded with sugar, sodas, and at least cutting down on ice cream a bit. In addition to a healthier diet, there are a variety of activities that can help to lose extra weight. Additionally, portion control can go a long way in terms of weight management.
As a caregiver, it’s important to help seniors adjust to a new lifestyle in which they make healthier choices. Try to motivate seniors to stick to it and remind them of all the positive benefits of healthy eating. The encouragement will go a long way.
Everyone is different, and that’s why the same course of action is not appropriate for all. Whether it be traditional or water aerobics, yoga, swimming, or just a short daily walk, an obese senior simply has to do something to fight obesity. The alternative, doing nothing, is simply not acceptable for longevity.