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Sudden Senior Weight Loss: Causes and How to Help

By Lauren Robison, 9:00 am on

When a senior loved one suddenly loses a noticeable amount of weight, it is important to schedule an appointment with his or her physician as soon as possible since the weight loss could be a symptom of a serious issue. Below, Home Care Assistance of New Hampshire has put together a list of the most common reasons for unexplained weight loss in the elderly.

Isolation and Depression
Meal times can be especially lonely for some seniors, and it is not surprising that some seniors may skip meals after the loss of a loved one or prolonged period of being alone. This is one culprit of weight loss that can be easily remedied by arranging for a caregiver or friend to stop by during mealtimes for companionship and conversation.

Oral Pain
Some seniors experience pain or difficulty chewing and swallowing their food due to dental problems such as ill-fitting dentures, decay or missing teeth. Additionally, those with conditions such as Parkinson’s or severe arthritis may struggle with cutting their food, which might also make them fear choking. For those with oral pain, a visit to the dentist could clear up their difficulties. Ergonomic utensils and meal preparation assistance from an hourly caregiver could also be helpful if this is the cause of a loved one’s weight loss.

Medication Side Effects
Many seniors take multiple medications regularly that could potentially cause sudden weight loss. Check a senior’s medication labels to identify if weight loss is a common side effect. Then, speak with his or her doctor to determine if the type or amount of medication needs to be changed. In many instances, seniors may simply need to adjust their diet to compensate for the weight changes.

Dementia or Memory Loss
As a senior with dementia progresses through each stage, he or she may easily forget to eat. If this is the case, it is essential to make sure a family member or caregiver is present at mealtimes.

If after determining the cause of sudden weight loss in a senior loved one you need help making sure he or she is eating regular, well-balanced meals, reach out to Home Care Assistance. We offer live-in and hourly care, as well as specialized Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and dementia care in New Hampshire. A compassionate and experienced caregiver can grocery shop, prepare meals, and ensure your loved one is eating enough to maintain a high-quality life. To learn more, call a trusted Care Manager at 603-471-3004 and schedule a no-obligation consultation.