One of the most important things you can do to help a senior loved one stay healthy is work with him or her to maintain a healthy weight. Obesity is associated with a variety of health issues, including increased risks of heart attacks, dementia, diabetes, and arthritis. Here are some ways you can help your loved one maintain a healthy weight and prevent obesity-related diseases.
1. Don’t Serve Processed Foods
Many people who successfully prevent obesity eat home-cooked meals. Homemade foods tend to have less sugar and fat than packaged items. Whenever possible, try to avoid feeding your loved one frozen dinners, prepackaged snacks, or fast-food meals. Instead, focus on meals made from whole grains, lean proteins, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Especially avoid the empty calories found in sodas, fruit juices, and other processed drinks.
If your loved one needs help maintaining healthy habits, consider hiring a professional caregiver. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of elder care. You can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide an individualized care plan 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.
2. Know the Nutritional Requirements
Seniors tend to become obese because their metabolisms naturally slow with age. Those who aren’t aware of age-related changes in their metabolisms may end up overeating. Calculate your loved one’s total daily energy expenditure to get a rough idea of the number of calories he or she needs. It may be helpful to work with a nutritionist, who can recommend the amounts of protein, fat, carbs, and vitamins your loved one needs to feel full and nourished without gaining weight.
3. Provide Plenty of Probiotics
Obesity may also be linked to the bacteria in a person’s gut. Certain problematic bacteria make the body crave sugary, unhealthy food, while helpful bacteria can reduce cravings. A good way to make sure your loved one is getting the right types of bacteria in the intestinal tract is to increase his or her probiotic intake. Seniors can get probiotics from certain types of yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, and other fermented foods.
4. Encourage Movement
When it comes to preventing obesity, even small amounts of physical exercise make a big difference. Encourage your loved one to do simple things like walk around the block after dinner or go for a swim in the afternoon. If possible, encourage your loved one to try weightlifting. Lifting weights is one of the most effective exercises for preventing obesity because people who have more muscle burn more calories throughout the day.
A home caregiver can help your loved one exercise safely. There are a variety of reasons family caregivers should consider respite care. Kennebunk, ME, families often have additional responsibilities that make it more challenging to provide the care their senior loved ones need and deserve. A professional respite caregiver can take over your important caregiving duties, allowing you more time to focus on yourself.
5. Serve High-Fiber Foods
Foods that are high in fiber help with obesity prevention through several methods. Since fiber isn’t digestible, it sits in the stomach for a while and helps seniors feel full. Fiber also increases good gut bacteria. Finally, it’s useful because most types of fiber, such as crunchy vegetables, whole grains, and fruits, are generally low in calories. Seniors who eat fiber-rich meals can feel satisfied without having to eat a lot of calories.
Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional homecare. Kennebunk, ME, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life. Call one of our friendly Care Managers at (207) 835-4849 to schedule a free consultation.