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Involuntary Weight Loss: Why Seniors Drop Pounds

Shedding excess weight is usually a great way to stay healthy, especially among the elderly adults who are overweight. For other seniors however, losing weight may be a serious issue that needs to be addressed. Did you know that nearly 27% of older adults over the age of 65 drop pounds? In fact, losing 5% or more of their weight over a period of 6 months is a significant matter that should be given proper attention. Family members, caregivers, and the individual himself must take responsibility for investigating the possible cause of such rapid weight loss and manage it with care by seeking medical help.

To learn more about the plausible causes of involuntary weight loss among seniors, see these common causes below.

1. Social Isolation and Depression

Becoming less mobile as one ages leads to spending more time alone. A senior citizen’s social circle also becomes smaller with their peers passing away. Such increased loneliness is a possible cause for depression. When depression sets in, the individual’s appetite is affected. He or she may eat less or not at all. Treatments for depression, engaging in more social activities in the community, interacting with fellow seniors, and even talk therapy can help a senior elevate his or her mental and emotional wellbeing.

2. Decreased Ability to Perform Activities of Daily Living (ADLS)

An individual’s ability to move and execute a daily routine can decrease as he ages. Driving, taking grocery trips, doing sports, cooking meals, and more importantly, feeding one’s self can be a major struggle. Such functional difficulties are a good cause to seek assisted living or the aid of an in-home caregiver. Sparing time to do their groceries, cooking their meals, stocking their pantry with nutritious snacks and ensuring that they get proper nutrition are all great ways to prevent involuntary weight loss.

3. Chronic Physical Illness

Chronic diseases like cancer or dementia are significant contributing factors to a senior’s decreased weight. Cancer along accounts for 24% to 38% of all cases. Meanwhile, dementia can alter the sense of taste and smell among the elderly. Additionally, uncontrolled diabetes with mismanaged insulin can result to the lack of energy, frequent urination, and excessive thirst. Given these health realities, seeking medical attention is important for early prevention and can even lead to detecting underlying medical causes for involuntary weight loss. A medical professional will surely be able to orient family members with health history, perform a physical exam and even order blood work or body scans.

Dramatic changes among seniors should not be neglected and instead should be reason to give them proper attention and care.