Weight management is something that only younger people need to worry about, right? Unfortunately for those who think this way, the opposite is completely true: it’s also crucial for seniors to watch their weight. The team at Accredited Home Care wants to help spread the word that how much you eat and what you eat is important to your overall health, whether you’re 20, 40, 80 or any other age.
Challenges to Maintaining a Healthy Weight
Seniors have particular weight challenges, since the metabolism for many of them will have changed significantly or may still change more in the future. This means that some are at high risk for obesity and must limit their portions, among other things.
Obese seniors are at a higher risk for death, according to a 2013 study.
Others have different concerns: they may not feel as hungry as they used to so they don’t want to eat as much or even remember to eat when they’re supposed to. They lose weight, sometimes at dangerous levels.
At the same time, being active and exercising regularly, another vital component of a successful weight management strategy, is often difficult to do, especially if someone has balance problems, pain in joints, or simply doesn’t want to go outside much. This often results in less muscle tone.
But exercise provides all sorts of physical and mental benefits. It produces endorphins, which make you feel better. Even low-impact activities like yoga or tai chi can still help balance and flexibility.
Health care providers can “prescribe” regular exercise, but they can’t be there all the time to make sure this is done. Some home health services can also help put programs together or offer therapy services such as massage.
One solution that can work well for Los Angeles area residents is round-the-clock caregiving. This homecare gives caregivers the opportunity to encourage appropriate physical activity throughout the day, along with assessing and evaluating a client’s diet and weight management efforts.
They can also provide the opportunity to help figure out the ideal weight levels for that person, since every individual is different and some of the tools to figure out this amount can be confusing to people who aren’t as familiar with nutrition and senior physiology.
For instance, AARP offers an online calculator to figure out your BMI, which is your Body Mass Index. This figure looks at your ratio of body fat based on your weight and height, which can be a good indicator if you’re overweight, underweight, or just fine.
This figure is also used to assess other health conditions and risks of developing future health problems.
While it’s not a perfect metric for everyone, the BMI can be a good starting point for discussions with a provider or a caregiver and to provide direction in establishing an effective health and weight management plan.
A caregiver or other nutrition/dietary specialists might be able to see if someone’s food intake may need to be increased or decreased based on weight gain or loss.
How to Eat Better
This month is a good time to start focusing on eating better and learning new habits. Jan. 20-26 is considered National Healthy Weight Week, with a goal of encouraging people to reach healthy weights rather than crash diets or reach objective calorie counts. Better habits can start by reducing snacks or at least having healthier ones with less salt and fat. Then add more foods rich in fiber such as vegetables, fruits or whole grains.
Choosing lean meats such as chicken, turkey or fish also have more nutritional value than red meats like beef.
Dairy products are good for calcium and other minerals, but people can also choose lower-fat or fat-free options. Consuming a lot of water throughout the day is also useful for a weight management plan – it helps cut down on hunger as well and improves your overall circulatory system.
If you’re not familiar with some of these healthier food choices or have difficulties shopping for them, a home health care service can assist.
For instance, Accredited Home Care can take a client shopping or run some of these sorts of errands for them. They also can assist with meal preparation if someone is unfamiliar with ways to cook some of these items, or not comfortable in the kitchen anymore.
According to HowStuffWorks.com, the recommended calorie range for men over age 50 is 2,000 to 2,600, especially if they’re moderately active.
Women over age 50 have a recommended calorie range of 1,600 to 1,800 calories if they are moderately active. Men and women who are more active may need more calories to successfully burn away fat.
Too many calories can add more weight that’s slower to burn off, and too few calories can cause fatigue and pain, and sometimes reduce someone’s metabolism, making it even slower to convert calories into energy.
Representatives from Accredited Home Care are available to discuss a variety of caregiving options for future clients and their family members living in the Los Angeles area, especially if weight management is a concern or appropriate weight levels need to be identified.