Anything worthwhile takes time and effort, and that’s certainly true for maintaining a healthy weight. It may seem even more difficult for older adults to lose the extra pounds that can lead to serious health concerns. Research shows that as many as 25% of seniors in America over age 65 are obese, placing them at a greater risk for diabetes, heart attack or stroke, reduced mobility, depression, and more.
So how should older adults who want (and need) to lose weight begin? THE MEDICAL TEAM has put together a simple step-by-step process to help.
First and foremost, schedule an appointment with the doctor. The senior’s doctor should perform a full physical and provide guidance on whether obesity is a concern and how to address it.
Review the senior’s current dietary plan. Evaluate the senior’s main meal choices and portion sizes. Keep in mind that for each decade of life, we typically require about 100 fewer calories per day.
Determine to make a few small changes at a time rather than many changes all at once. For a senior whose diet has consisted mainly of fatty foods and carbs, it will be difficult to abruptly change to a diet loaded with fruits, veggies and whole grains – and sets the senior up for discouragement. Try making one healthy substitution to start, and gradually build to healthier overall dietary choices.
Add in physician-approved activities. It may be as simple as taking a daily walk. Research shows that as little as one to two-and-a-half hours of brisk walking each week reduces the risk of death by as much as 25%.
Make healthier living a habit. Sticking to changes in diet and activity level can be a challenge, but given time, these changes will become part of the daily routine. It also enhances the chance of success when partnering with a companion to provide the motivation and encouragement to continue with a healthier lifestyle.
THE MEDICAL TEAM wants seniors to know they’re not alone in reaching their goals! Our senior caregivers are skilled in planning and preparing meals that are both healthy and delicious, in participating in activities that get seniors up and moving, and in serving as a companion to cheer them on every step of the way.