Sudden weight loss in an elderly individual can indicate that one or more factors are causing a decrease in appetite. It is important to address and correct a decline in weight because poor nutrition can affect all of the body systems and make seniors more susceptible to infections and early death. If you have an aging parent or loved one who has lost a significant amount of weight in a short period of time, the Cincinnati senior care experts at Home Care Assistance recommend that you schedule a medical examination that includes a physical and mental evaluation in order to find the root of the weight loss.
Heart disease, gastrointestinal disorders and cancer are all leading causes for weight loss in the elderly. Poor circulatory effect causes a decrease in body mass because of the heart’s inability to effectively pump and deliver nutrients to the parts of the body. Gastrointestinal disorders such as Chron’s Disease and Celiac Disease cause frequent bouts of diarrhea, which result in a rapid loss of nutrients. In addition, stomach and intestinal ailments can cause nausea and stomach pain that interferes with the appetite. Cancer causes weight loss because its cells act by robbing healthy tissues of their nutrients, resulting in malnutrition and decreasing body mass.
It is normal for seniors to experience sadness as they go through the aging process, and depression is the primary cause of sudden weight loss in the elderly. The reality of one’s approaching death becomes omnipresent, in addition to the loss of loved ones and lifelong friends. Decreasing mobility and the inability to fully participate in activities that were once enjoyed can also contribute to depression.
What Can Be Done?
If a physician is able to determine the cause of weight loss, body mass can return if the underlying condition can be effectively treated. Also, commercially packaged nutrient-dense shakes can help seniors to regain weight, along with eating nutritious nutrient-packed meals. Getting your aging parent or loved one involved in activities with other individuals who are also experiencing the same life changes can help lift depression and develop a sense of camaraderie with other older adults. If depression becomes severe, prescription medication may be necessary.
If you believe that your loved one’s weight loss is the result of their inability to safely and effective care for themselves, reach out to Home Care Assistance of Cincinnati and schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation with one of our friendly Care Managers. They will be able to answer any questions you may have and can also tell you more about our hourly and live-in care options, and specialty services such as Parkinson’s, post-stroke, Alzheimer’s and dementia care for Cincinnati seniors. Call 513-891-2273 today.