Gaining weight isn’t always a bad thing, especially for seniors living with conditions that cause weight loss. Some medications can also prevent seniors from staying in good physical and mental shape. However, family caregivers can use the tips mentioned below to help their senior parents maintain a healthy weight and avoid various problems caused by weight loss.
1. Change Portion Sizes
Instead of eating three balanced meals each day, your loved one should eat smaller meals and increase his or her protein and calorie intake. For example, you can divide your parent’s lunch into two portions and add more dairy products like cheese and yogurt to the meals. You can also drizzle healthy oils on vegetables and rice or encourage drinking high-calorie shakes with the smaller meals.
2. Provide Access to Plenty of Nutritious Foods
Many seniors lose weight because they don’t have access to healthy foods and snacks. You can help your loved one gain weight by ensuring he or she has access to nutritious options. Go to the grocery store after creating a list of meals for the week. You should also keep healthy snacks and precooked dishes in an area of the kitchen your loved one can access easily.
A professional caregiver can help your loved one plan and prepare nutritious meals. Senior 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.
3. Increase the Appetite
Some medications cause seniors to eat less, and various conditions like dementia can also affect the appetite. In these instances, find ways to encourage your loved one to eat, such as cooking appealing dishes or using additional herbs and seasoning for taste. Find out why your loved one lost his or her appetite and look for solutions.
4. Encourage Nutritious Snacking
Adding more protein to your loved one’s diet with snacks can help with healthy weight gain. Avoid sugar and flour-rich snacks. Instead, your loved one can nibble on items like crackers with hummus or avocado dip, nuts, protein bars, and trail mix. These foods are considered good fats and can help your loved one gain weight in a healthy manner.
5. Puree Meals
If your loved one experiences swallowing and chewing problems, he or she might shy away from eating even when presented with favorite dishes. To address these problems, serve soft foods and consider pureeing your loved one’s meals. Both options allow your loved one to eat with less difficulty and can help him or her gain weight. When creating pureed meals, add an extra ingredient or serving size to one of the entrées to provide more healthy calories.
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. Centennial, CO, 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.
6. Speak with a Doctor
Your loved one’s primary care physician can provide guidance when it comes to healthy weight gain. The doctor can review your parent’s medical records, including family history, to determine what’s safe and what weight gain strategies should be avoided. While trying to gain weight, your loved one shouldn’t eat foods that raise the odds of other health problems, such as diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease.
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 at-home care. Centennial 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. If you need professional home care for your loved one, Home Care Assistance is just a phone call away. Reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (303) 957-3100.