According to Center for Disease Control and Prevention, around thirty-six percent of adults in America are classified as obese. The number continues to grow and is affecting people of all backgrounds, social statuses, and age groups including seniors. Seniors who are having struggles with obesity are at risk for certain health issues down the line. It can also lead into costly financial issues as well. However, many assisted and independent senior living communities and facilities are taking steps in order to combat this ongoing problem.
Health Risks of Seniors Who are Obese
It’s common knowledge that obesity over a long course of time can be dangerous to oneself. However, it’s more than feeling sluggish and being slower in movement. A number of health issues that are potentially dangerous to seniors (whether they live on their own or reside in assisted and independent senior living communities) can occur if obesity continues to be a part of a senior’s lifestyle. As seniors continue to age and their weight aren’t kept in check, their organs may not function efficiently due to the extra stress on the tissue muscles.
The hearts of overweight seniors have to work hard in order to get blood throughout the body, which results in overworked muscles in the heart. This can lead to health problems like stroke, heart disease, and other heart-related problems.
Seniors struggling with obesity are likely to contract one or more kinds of illnesses due to their weight. This includes conditions such as:
- Hypertension – Also known as high blood pressure, can lead to other problems like sleep apnea and anxiety.
- Certain Cancers – The most common cancers associated with obesity are Liver Cancer, Kidney Cancer, and Gastric Cardia Cancer. While those are the most common forms of obesity-related cancers, seniors can still contract other forms of cancers as well.
- Type II Diabetes – A health condition in which the body doesn’t produce healthy amounts of insulin.
- Gallstones – A condition in which the body creates hardened deposits in the gallbladder, causing chronic pain in various areas of the body.
Those listed above are the few conditions that seniors can contract if they remain obese. Health issues don’t stop at physical health, as mental health can be a negative factor in a senior’s life. People with obesity problems have reported to have mental struggles like depression and psychological distress.
Cost of Senior Living and Obesity
Along with the problems of health, there is also the concern of obesity’s impact on one’s finances. It’s been reported that people with obesity-related issues are associated with higher health care expenditures. In addition, seniors who are under public health insurances (whether they live on their own or in communities that cater to assisted or independent senior living care) bear the bulk of the financial burdens that are taken care of by public funding. This public funding includes tax revenue and other sources of public/government revenue. Because it is a growing problem, the need for larger funding may arise in the near future.
How Independent Senior Living and Other Communities are Combating Obesity
With the rise of seniors struggling with obesity, many assisted and independent senior living communities are making sure that those seniors are getting the best senior care they can find. Communities these days are making sure that their residences are comfortable and relaxed while they also assist them in leading a fuller and healthier life.
Senior living communities are actively promoting a healthier lifestyle by offering a wide variety of exercise programs to their residents at little to no extra cost. This includes programs like water aerobics, indoor exercise classes (like indoor cycling and step aerobics), yoga, and many others. These classes are easy enough for seniors to keep up with but also help them get the daily amount of exercise that they need.
Additionally, in most senior living residences, the staff are kept up to date in the latest trends in senior health and nutrition. Because of that, they are making sure that their residents are eating properly, getting proper exercise, and leading a positive and healthy lifestyle. A number of senior living places have some form of specialized health expert on site most of the time. They can help in making sure that everyone is in good shape and they can address any concerns regarding anyone’s health.
In addition, both assisted and independent senior living communities make sure that their residents are getting a proper diet. Most of the catering done on campus is monitored for their nutritional value and benefits, making adjustments to any part of the daily meals the communities offer.
Struggling with one’s weight, even as a senior, can be a tough challenge. However, with some positive support, the right environment and motivation, anyone can lead a better and healthier life.