Obesity is a serious concern for many people, but it can be even more hazardous for elderly individuals. Seniors are already at risk for certain health concerns due to their old age, and obesity can increase this risk.
Generally speaking, people are aware of the dangers of obesity. However, it can be tough for those directly dealing with obesity to see the extent of the problem. Because of this, getting help for your obese senior parent or elderly loved ones can be difficult. But this does not mean it is impossible.
If you need assistance getting help for your senior parent, then continue reading for some tips on how to care for elderly parents affected by obesity.
Focus on the Person’s Health and Not Their Size
In any situation regarding someone’s weight, you should place all focus on the individual’s health and not on how big or heavy they are. This is important because you do not want to reinforce any negative body ideas that can encourage eating disorders and other negative habits.
While weight loss is important in improving an obese person’s health, the ultimate goal is improving their health, not losing as much weight as they can. A focus on health emphasizes the person’s well-being instead of their appearance, and health is the legitimate concern regarding obesity.
Take the time to speak with your parent to let them know you are concerned about their health. Let them know that their obese condition means that they are more prone to suffering from health problems like heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer among other diseases.
Furthermore, let your parent know you love and value them. Tell them you want them around for as long as possible and how they need to be healthy to prolong their lifespan.
Many elderly parents enjoy spending time with their grandchildren. But if they do not take care of their health, the chance that they will be able to see their grand kids grow up is slim.
Hire a Physician and/or Counselor
If your parent does not already have a physician, then you should hire one for them. This can be particularly helpful because a doctor will evaluate their health and inform them of any health problems they have and/or are at risk for. Certain people may not believe they have a problem but may feel differently if they receive such information from a credible, licensed professional. The physician can also figure out if any health issues can be treated.
Something else to consider is hiring a counselor.
If your parent is obese, then there is an issue of food consumption. Sometimes the reason for unhealthy food consumption is an inability to cook and access healthy foods and meals. But sometimes, unhealthy food consumption has nothing to do with food itself.
Just as some people use alcohol to cope, some seniors might be using food and overeating as a drug of choice and a coping mechanism for a bigger, overlying problem. In such a case, a counselor can help them figure out what the legitimate issue is, which will help combat any overeating that has led to obesity. They can also help elderly individuals establish a healthy way to cope with mental health concerns.
Set a Good Example
While your parents are older than you, this does not mean you cannot have an influence on them.
If you are practicing unhealthy eating habits, then your parents might be following suit. Part of providing care for elderly parents is being a good example, so make sure you are eating well and practicing healthy eating habits.
When you are with your parents, make it a habit to eat healthy foods, focusing on fruits and vegetables instead of sugar and processed foods. They will see you eating well and may feel inclined to do the same. If you eat unhealthy foods while with your parents, it only makes it easier for them to eat poorly, too.
Along with making smart food choices, you can also set a good example by being active.
When you spend time with your parent, do some form of activity, and encourage them to join you in this. You will want to consider your parent’s abilities, so engaging in highly rigorous activity is not the best idea. But a simple walk around the neighborhood or in a park is a great form of exercise.
Elderly Home Care Services
Sometimes, seniors make poor health and food choices because of an inability to properly care for themselves. They may feel unsafe or uncomfortable cooking for themselves, or they may not have the ability to go out to buy healthy foods for themselves. In such a situation, elderly individuals may resort to eating foods with insufficient nutritional value, such as processed foods and microwave meals.
Sometimes, it can be tough for seniors to practice healthy eating habits with no one around to hold them accountable. But these problems can be solved by getting elderly home care help for your senior parent.
Assisting Hands Home Care provides non-medical home health care services in Buffalo Grove, Deerfield, Mundelein IL, and the neighboring communities. A caregiver will be assigned to your loved one, assisting them with everyday living at home. Our elderly home care services can include help with bathing and grooming and even meal preparation. Caregivers can also run errands to pick up healthy groceries for seniors and accompany them on walks to help them remain active.
With help from our senior care services, you can feel at ease knowing someone is available to assist your senior parent.