How to help prevent weight loss and retain muscle
Often people lose weight as they grow older however, this is not a desirable part of ageing. It is better for older people to carry a little extra weight as this will help to see them through illness and times when their appetite is poor. Minimising muscle loss will help older people to maintain strength, mobility and independence. Unintentional weight loss of 3-5kg (½ - 1 stone) in the last
6 months is a concern.
If a person is already underweight, even one or two days of reduced food and fluid intake can rapidly lead to severe weight and muscle loss.
People with a very poor appetite need more high calorie, nutritious foods and drinks in their diet every day. E.g. milkshakes, fruit smoothies and nourishing snacks.
Sufficient protein and calories will need to be eaten at main meals and throughout the day to help prevent muscle and weight loss.
It is important that older people weigh themselves (preferably weekly and at the same time of day) and record these weights to show their doctor or carer .
People who have become used to eating very small meals can be encouraged to eat a little more each day, and slowly ‘dial up their appetites’. This approach is much less daunting than having to ‘double your meals’ straight way .