Useful insights on eating disorders and seniors - Columbia Pacific

Eating disorders and seniors: useful insights by one of the leading retirement homes in Chennai

December 31, 2021


Categories : Senior Health Tips


Eating disorders can affect anyone, including elderly individuals. Life changes such as retirement, loss of loved ones, illnesses, or feelings of reduced independence can trigger eating disorders among seniors. Eating disorders may often go unnoticed in seniors as many older people may experience changes in their diets and appetites as they age. If untreated, eating disorders in later life can lead to a high rate of morbidity or even death.  It is therefore important to look out for signs of eating disorders and address them timely. 

As one of the leading retirement homes in Chennai, we share with you some useful insights on eating disorders among seniors:

1. Signs of eating disorders: The following are some warning signs that could indicate that an elderly individual is struggling with an eating disorder:

a. Losing weight drastically 

b. Skipping meals

c. Making excuses not to eat 

d. Often making negative comments on weight 

e. Frequently going to the bathroom after meals

2. Types of eating disorders: Eating disorders are forms of mental health conditions that accompany other conditions such as depression or anxiety. They often require the intervention of medical and psychological experts. Some of the common eating disorders are:

a. Anorexia nervosa: Elderly suffering from anorexia nervosa tend to severely restrict their food intake, even to the point of starving themselves. Usually, people with anorexia nervosa fear gaining weight and have an extreme reaction to this perceived body image. 

b. Bulimia nervosa: Commonly called bulimia, it is a serious and potentially life-threatening eating disorder. Elderly with bulimia eat large amounts of food and then they try to get rid of the extra calories in unhealthy ways — typically by using laxatives or forcing themselves to vomit. 

c. Binge-eating disorder: Elderly with binge-eating disorder may eat a lot of food in a short amount of time, even when they are not hungry. Unlike bulimia, people with binge-eating disorder do not try to get rid of the food. However, they feel shame or loss of control after meals.

3.Helpful tips: Elderly suffering from eating disorders must take the help of a medical professional. Also, it is important for them to embrace a healthy lifestyle and better diet choices. Here are a few helpful strategies: 

a. Keep a food and mood diary: Identifying personal triggers can be an important step in controlling impulsive eating.

b. Practise mindfulness: By being more aware of what triggers certain food habits, elderly individuals can exercise better self-control. 

c. Choose healthy foods: A wholesome diet rich in protein and healthy fats will help satisfy hunger and provide much-needed nutrients.

d. Start exercising: Exercise not only improves body image but also reduces anxiety by releasing feel-good hormones. 

e.Get enough sleep: Lack of sleep is associated with higher calorie intake. It is therefore important that seniors get at least 7-8 hours of good sleep per night.

Seniors often struggle making healthy meals for themselves. At our senior citizen homes in Chennai, we ensure that our residents enjoy healthy, delicious, fresh, and nutritious meals daily. Trained nutritionists design the menu keeping in mind the nutritional needs of seniors. There are regular review meetings with the F&B team so that our residents can share their suggestions and feedback. All our retirement homes have spacious dining halls so that the meal-times are relaxed and comfortable. If you are looking for a
senior citizen home in Chennai, call us at +91 8884555554.


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