8 reasons for weight loss in the elderly

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Why talk about the diet of the elderly?

We have all already met an elderly person who gradually starts to eat less and less. They sometimes tell us that it is because of their age that they no longer have the same appetite. But isn’t there also another reason behind the decrease in the diet of the elderly, and in some cases, behind this weight loss?

When an elderly person loses weight, there can be multiple reasons. In any case, if you notice that she is losing weight, talk to her doctor. Weight loss is a reason for medical consultation, there may be a health problem that caused this weight loss, but also problems caused by this weight loss (such as the impossibility of aging well at home in case of malnutrition).

I will not talk here about the pathologies that can lead to weight loss, but about certain disorders that can lead the elderly to eat less.

Advanced age: a received idea?

This is not just an excuse from our elderly to justify the fact that they eat less. When grandma complains that we serve her a big plate saying that as we get older we are less hungry, she is right! Indeed, with advancing age, there is actually a decrease in appetite in many people, linked to changes in the body. On the other hand, she is completely wrong when she tells you that with age, she needs to eat less. Indeed, even if an older person moves less than a younger one, they must eat just as much because their muscles and metabolism work less well and need more energy compared to those of young adults to perform the same movement. or the same action (digestion, immune defence, etc.).
The elderly certainly have a decrease in appetite, but absolutely not a decrease in nutritional needs! The diet of the elderly must therefore not decrease over the years!

Taking treatments

Certain treatments can reduce the appetite of the elderly, especially if they are taken before meals. This is a side effect. Do not hesitate to talk to the doctor, who will tell you if the loss of appetite can be linked to taking this medication, and who may modify the treatment accordingly.

Difficulties preparing meals

Advancing in age can induce a reduction in mobility, or a disease resulting in cognitive impairment. As a result, it can sometimes become very difficult to make a meal.
Indeed, to cook it is necessary to remember the recipe, to know where to find the food and utensils, to remember to stop cooking the meal and to be able to concentrate on several tasks at the same time (stirring the meat regularly while cutting vegetables).
It is also necessary to catch the utensils sometimes in height, to move in the kitchen, to maintain the standing position.
And for all that, you have to have been shopping, and we all know how strenuous it can be sometimes!

Disorientation and memory loss

In the case of certain pathologies (in particular certain dementias, such as Alzheimer’s disease), people lose their bearings over time. They don’t know if it’s bedtime or lunchtime. And they may therefore never think that it is time to eat, and therefore never eat!
In addition, these pathologies lead to memory problems. In some cases, the person may no longer know whether or not they have eaten their meal, and therefore either eat several times or not eat at all.

In this other article, I mention 4 other reasons that can lead the elderly person to eat less. In the meantime, I insist, if your loved one has lost weight recently (whether suddenly or not), talk to your doctor. The diet of the elderly is an important subject! If this article resonates with you or if you have any questions, please let me know by leaving a comment under the article. And remember that aging well in place is a choice!.