Weight loss is often a beneficial thing. However, if an elderly loved one loses weight suddenly and unintentionally, it could indicate a serious underlying problem that needs to be addressed. Not properly handling the issue can have a significant impact on one’s general well-being and quality of life, particularly for people in their golden years. Here is a guide to understanding the causes of unintentional weight loss.
As your elderly loved ones grow older, they have more free time to spare. However, that may not be the case for you due to work or other commitments. Due to this, your elderly loved ones, particularly those who live alone, feel less likely to go out and socialize with others, making them more socially isolated than ever. Loneliness brought on by isolation might result in a loss of appetite or a lack of willingness to prepare and consume nutritious meals, hence, making them lose weight unhealthily.
Chronic Medical Condition
Weight loss in our elderly loved ones can be caused by underlying chronic diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, cancer, heart disease, hyperthyroidism, gastrointestinal difficulties, and uncontrolled diabetes. All of these illnesses can have a variety of effects on their eating habits, appetite, and weight management.
Reaction to Medication
Certain medication side effects can cause weight loss in our elderly loved ones by reducing their desire to eat. Changes in smell or taste, nausea, dry mouth, and vomiting are some of the negative effects. Polypharmacy, or taking many drugs at the same time, has been linked to anorexia.
Unintentional weight loss is common in those suffering from mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety disorders, and personality disorders, as well as alcoholism and substance abuse. It could also be a sign of Alzheimer’s or dementia, as your loved ones may have simply forgotten to eat or are eating unhealthy foods.
Unable to Perform Daily Living Activities
When your loved ones are unable to perform basic daily living activities, it can result in rapid weight loss. An aging adult who no longer drives may find themselves walking or utilizing public transportation to the grocery shop. This could include transporting groceries for long periods, resulting in lesser food in their pantry and fewer meals to maintain a balanced caloric intake.
Natural Aging Process
It is also possible that their body is simply changing as it ages. Bone loss, muscle atrophy, and a decrease in kidney and live cells are all common side effects of aging. Furthermore, tissue loss decreases the amount of water in the body, which can all lead to noticeable weight loss, but is not necessarily a concern.
Live Healthily at TerraBella Southport
Worried about your loved one’s wellbeing and general health? Fret not, our assisted living community will help ensure that your loved ones live comfortably and healthily. Here, they can benefit from extra support with daily living activities while enjoying our exclusive senior living programs that will encourage them to keep active and healthy. For more information, do contact us today!