As your parents age, they generally need to take in fewer calories. As metabolisms slow, seniors may also reduce activity. Both factors contribute to weight gain.
The good news is, if your parents are a few pounds overweight at the age of seventy or higher, you don’t need to suggest a gym membership. A study in 2010 found that overweight seniors in the over seventy age group were more likely to make it to 80 than those of supposedly “normal” weight.
A little excess weight in those over seventy provides a buffer against malnutrition if disease or hospitalization causes sudden weight loss. And those extra pounds may cushion against broken bones in the event of a fall.
When a few extra pounds turn into obesity, that’s another story. In general, if your mother or father’s waist is significantly broader than his or her chest, there’s a chance of obesity. Your family may want to consider enlisting the help of a nutritionist who specializes in geriatric health.
Weight loss in people over 65 can be tricky, especially if there are chronic health conditions. If your parent’s doctor has said that he or she needs to lose weight, however, you should take that seriously.
When losing weight, people over 65 need to focus on strength training, also called resistance training, to offset muscle loss. A typical health problem for seniors is that muscle can so easily get replaced with fat. That means that lifting weights, swimming, and water aerobics will be a better weight loss strategy than running marathons. As always, if your senior loved one is considering a new workout regime, consult with their physician first and a certified trainer to design a safe workout plan.
Also, when seniors restrict calories, there’s a danger that their bodies will cannibalize muscle tissue rather than burning fat. Building and maintaining muscle should, therefore, be the first priority, and losing weight should be the second.
Push the protein
The only real way to lose and keep weight off is to burn more calories than one takes in. Therefore, eating fewer fried foods, desserts, potatoes, white bread, and drinking less beer is recommended with any weight loss plan.
In addition, seniors need to eat lean protein throughout the day, preferably at every meal. Consuming lean protein, like steamed fish, boiled eggs, and turkey, makes people feel full. And that prevents overeating. Consuming enough protein also guards against muscle loss and abets muscle development through strength training.
Home care services can help achieve weight loss goals
A home care professional who visits your seniors a few hours a week or more can be highly effective in helping the elderly reach and maintain their weight goals. Home care workers can shop for healthy food and help your loved one prepare it.
In conclusion, excess weight may not be a cause for concern in everyone over 65. A qualified medical professional can assess whether your senior needs to lose weight. If she does, resistance training is the best exercise. Aerobics classes are less effective, unless combined with water or weights. Weight loss is an achievable goal at any age, and the benefits of a stronger heart and a longer life are indisputable.
If you are considering elder care in Pineville, NC for an aging loved one, please contact the caring staff at Golden Heart Senior Care of Charlotte. Call today: (704) 246-5806.