Although there are some serious health conditions that cause weight loss, it is possible that a change in a person’s lifestyle or diet could also have a dramatic effect on their weight. Consider these common reasons as a starting point for identifying the cause of your loved one’s weight loss.
Loss of Smell or Taste
A person’s ability to sense smells and flavors declines with age, and certain medications and health conditions can exacerbate this loss of sensation. Check prescription labels to see if this may be a side effect, and ask if your loved one has noticed a change in his or her senses. Sometimes, adding some additional herbs and flavorings can boost a senior’s interest in eating again.
Loss of appetite is a common symptom of depression, and some seniors may skip meals. Feelings of isolation could also lead seniors to avoid mealtimes or eat less. For these seniors, an hourly caregiver who provides companionship during meals could help them to regain their weight.
Ill-fitting dentures, tooth decay and other oral health conditions could interfere with a senior’s ability to eat properly. Observe your loved one at meal times to see if he or she struggles with chewing or swallowing their food.
In some cases, dramatic weight loss could be linked to a serious disease such as cancer. Those undergoing cancer treatments such as chemotherapy may also experience nausea and a lack of appetite that can make it hard to maintain one’s weight.
Physical or Cognitive Decline
When a loved one has a significant change in weight, it could be a sign he or she is struggling to live independently. For example, someone with Alzheimer’s may forget to eat meals, or a senior adult with severe arthritis may find it too painful to open jars, chop vegetables and perform other cooking tasks. If this is the case, professional home care in Milwaukee could be the solution to getting your loved one the help needed during meal times.
First and foremost, if your senior loved one has experienced a dramatic weight loss contact his or her physician. Then, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our hourly and live-in caregivers can grocery shop, prepare healthy meals, and offer companionship among other things. Request a free consultation at by calling (414) 964-8000 and get your loved one the help needed to promote a healthy lifestyle.