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It’s not so easy to notice gradual changes in the health and behavior of a close loved one, even if you see each other every day. But to monitor these 

signs and, perhaps, regularly mark them in a care journal, it is necessary to detect diseases in time and hinder their development. One of these symptoms is inadvertent 

weight loss due to poor nutrition or other related factors that indicate a major problem - medical, behavioral, or emotional. It is important to find out the reason why an older person is losing weight and to prevent the occurrence of more serious threats to his health.

The dangers of unintentional weight loss in older people

Unintentional weight loss is a rather alarming sign, which should be paid special attention. On the one hand, it would be useful for some obese grandparents to lose a few pounds in order to reduce the load on the joints and the cardiovascular system. However, in such situations, weight loss should be intentional and

controlled so that a person gets rid of fat, and not from valuable muscle mass, and that too rapid changes in the body do not lead to negative side effects. If the weight goes away on its own, this is fraught with great health risks, even if from a medical point of view the loss in body weight should be to the benefit of an aging relative.

Such involuntary weight loss often leads to impaired function of the immune system, which is why an older person can get sick more often and recover more slowly after infectious and other diseases. Due to weight loss and deterioration of general well-being, he will feel tired and give up his usual activities, physical 

exercises and communication. If weight loss is caused by loss of muscle mass, your loved one will weaken and be more at risk for falls and injuries, which are especially dangerous in old age.

Why do older people lose weight without making an effort?

Weight loss is, at first glance, a common problem associated with aging, but its causes and long-term health effects can be completely different. To protect your ward, first of all, you need to find out why he is losing weight. Go to the doctor’s office with him and share your observations by answering the following questions:
  • How long has an elderly person lost weight and how fast is this process?
  • Has his behavior and eating habits changed?
  • Have you noticed that he is worried or depressed?
  • Did he complain of malaise or that it became difficult for him to eat?

Any information that you provide will help the doctor determine the cause of the failure in the body. This situation can also be an occasion to contact a gerontologist - a specialist in physical, mental and emotional changes in the elderly and senile. Excluding the medical causes of sudden weight loss, pay attention to possible social or logistical prerequisites. With age, we gradually lose independence, and once simple tasks, such as going to the store for groceries or preparing full-fledged dishes, suddenly become unbearable. The death of a spouse usually enhances a person’s sense of isolation from the usual way. In particular, it can be difficult or uncomfortable for him to be alone.
The following is a list of a variety of causes that can lead to unintended weight loss in older people.

Medical reasons

Dementia With the development of dementia, a person's motor abilities, the ability to chew food and memory deteriorate. Confusion, suspicion, and lack of appetite can also contribute to weight loss.

Digestive system disorders. Due to problems in the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract, absorption of nutrients worsens and appetite decreases.
Cancer. Oncological diseases affect the body in different ways. Sometimes they take away the energy necessary for life from the patient, in other cases they affect the appetite and digestibility of food, which can cause weight loss.

Endocrine Disorders Thyroid diseases, diabetes and other hormonal disorders affect metabolism, digestion and absorption of nutrients.
Difficulty chewing and swallowing. Various health problems, including neurological disorders, may negatively affect an older person's ability to chew and swallow.

Mental reasons

Depression. Depression often leads to loss of appetite. This condition can be caused by isolation, loss of independence, grief, or medical problems.
Anxiety. Anxiety disorders have a great and lasting effect on the health and well-being of the elderly.

Social reasons

Poverty. Financial troubles can seriously hamper a healthy diet.
Inaccessibility or lack of products . The inability to go shopping alone due to impaired motor ability or the lack of shops near the house limits older people in choosing food.
Loneliness and social isolation. The more time an elderly person spends alone, the easier it is for him to lose the habit of eating regularly, at the same time, and lose interest in food in general.
Limitations of autonomy . If grandparents are not able to regularly prepare healthy food for themselves, and they do not have assistants, this will adversely affect the diet and quality of nutrition.

Difficulties in eating

Unsuitable dentures. If dentures are poorly fitted or do not hold in your mouth, eating with them will be very difficult or even impossible.
Toothache or jaw pain . Dental problems or tension in the jaw make eating a painful task.

Impaired taste or nausea. Changes in taste and nausea can be side effects of drugs or natural symptoms of aging. In any case, these conditions reduce appetite, desire and the ability to eat.

The presented list is not exhaustive - your ward may unexpectedly lose weight for any other reason. The sooner you pay attention to this problem and eliminate the possible medical, psychological or behavioral prerequisites for unhealthy weight loss, the higher the chance that your loved one will fully recover and recover.

How to help an elderly person improve their health?

The action plan will depend on the specific cause of unintentional weight loss. It may require contacting a medical specialist, dentist or psychologist, resolving financial difficulties or making adjustments to the ward's usual lifestyle. Take this problem seriously and find a solution. For example, in addition to the doctor’s recommendations, an experienced home care professional will help develop an effective daily routine and meals to enhance the overall health of an elderly relative.

With age, the metabolism naturally slows down, so older people eat less than in their youth. In general, it is important to pay serious attention to the quality of 

nutrition and the rigidity of food. Your ward should receive enough vitamins and minerals, especially if he has digestive problems. There are ways to make dishes more attractive to people with reduced appetite and more accessible to old people with bad teeth or poor-quality dentures. The best way to improve the situation with

the ward's nutrition is to sit down at the table with him so that he has a company and assistants who will remind you of the need. By monitoring the condition and well-being of a loved one, you will be able to take timely measures so that he or she overcomes age restrictions and live a healthy and happy life

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