Why Weight Gain Is Important For SeniorsAs they get older, most seniors have an issue with their weight. While some need to lose weight, many actually need to gain weight. Being underweight is the result of several factors, but the underlying problem is that seniors can face serious malnutrition and other health problems if they do not keep their weight up. In seniors, much of their weight loss is due to a lack of consuming enough calories. People tend to have smaller appetites and eat less as they age. If their weight drops too much, malnutrition and other health problems can develop. To fight this, it is important to help seniors gain and maintain a healthy weight.
Why Is It Hard for the Elderly to Gain Weight?Why is it hard for the elderly to gain weight? There are several reasons why this is hard, including:
Reduced MetabolismAs people age, their metabolism slows down. Essentially, they process the food that they eat at a slower pace. This has an effect on things like nutrient absorption, hunger, and how much people eat. While metabolism can be manipulated to an extent, there is almost always a reduction for seniors. Furthermore, trying to increase your metabolism becomes difficult or impossible at a certain age. Because of this, seniors often begin to lose weight and struggle to maintain a healthy weight even when doing other things to fix the problem.
Reduced Calorie Intake/Eating LessWhat causes weight loss in the elderly? The simplest answer is that they are not consuming enough calories to maintain their weight. Seniors tend to get fewer calories as they age, mainly due to eating less. Whether they are hungry less often, easier to satisfy, or just choose to eat less, the result is dropping weight. The most direct way to fix this is to increase the number of calories seniors consume and try to maintain a healthy calorie intake regardless of hunger and other factors.
Reduced AppetiteA reduced appetite means seniors are hungry less often. Because of this, they are likely to eat less or eat less frequently. While forcing themselves to eat when they are not hungry is not advised, it may be necessary to take other steps to address their weight if low appetite becomes a concern.
Difficulty Absorbing NutrientsSeniors may also have difficulty absorbing nutrients. This happens naturally over time as the body ages and becomes less efficient at processing food. Many seniors rely on taking supplements or changing their diet to compensate.
Increase Calories Per DayOne of the most important ways for seniors to gain weight is to increase their daily calorie intake. This can be done by:
- eating larger meals and snacks
- increasing the amount of high-calorie foods in their diets
- by adding nutritious high-calorie supplements to their daily meals