Medical Alerts for Seniors with Obesity

Medical Alerts for Seniors with Obesity

time icon 5 min read update icon Sept. 28, 2019


Medical professionals usually gauge obesity based on the body mass index (BMI) scale. According to this scale, many individuals with a BMI over 30 are classified as obese. Over the last 30 years, the number of obese seniors has doubled, according to the American Nurses Association.

Obesity Introduction

Obesity in seniors is a growing problem. Currently, more than 15 percent of all seniors are considered obese. Many factors contribute to obesity in the elderly population. An inactive lifestyle and excessive consumption of more calories than the body requires are some of the main reasons many seniors are obese. Also, as a person ages, the body reduces its production of thyroid hormones and human growth hormone. This also contributes to weight gain. Genetics also appear to play a role in obesity.

Obesity Impairment

Obesity is a serious, chronic condition that causes the sufferer to experience many impairments. Unfortunately, many of the physical impairments also reduce the senior’s mobility and ability to exercise, so instead of losing weight, they increase their weight gain. Obesity puts seniors at an increased risk for type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease, joint pain, high blood pressure, sleep apnea and some cancers.

Obesity sufferers battle daily impairments that are a direct result of their excessive weight.

  • Joint pain
  • Back pain
  • Shortness of breath, also known as Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty walking
Medical Alert Benefits

Many people see advertisements on television where an elderly person has fallen and cannot get back up. Unfortunately, this is not a fictional situation. It is a true and sad reality for many obese seniors. Obese individuals face a serious risk of falling and being unable to get back up because of their excessive weight, or because they may sustain injury from the fall. Seniors who are obese are also at an increased risk of heart disease and stroke, which can render them unable to call for help in the event of an emergency. Having a medical alert system will help the senior quickly summon help if an accident should occur.

The symptoms of obesity usually depend on many factors, such as how long the person has been obese and any underlying medical conditions that may be present.

  • A BMI greater than 30
  • Increased sweating
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Snoring
  • Feeling tired
  • Inability to cope with the chores of the day that require physical activity
  • Back pain
  • Joint pain
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Difficulty walking
Safety Without Medical Alerts

Many obese seniors opt to live their lives without medical alerts. In such a situation, there are certain precautions that they can take to ensure their daily safety.

  • Difficulty walking: The home should be cleared of any stumbling blocks, such as throw rugs and clutter, that the person can accidentally run into. Ideally, non-slip flooring should be installed throughout the home.
  • Joint pain: Joint pain makes it difficult to stand from a seated position. Placing a safety frame around the toilet and installing bath bars in the bathroom can help. Also, having a walk-in shower is beneficial. A stand-and-assist beside the bed will also help the senior get in and out of bed.
  • Snoring: Many seniors snore and suffer from sleep apnea. A physician can prescribe a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine (CPAP) to help relieve the side effects of sleep apnea. This will help the senior feel more awake, and they will therefore be less prone to stumbling or suffering from an accident.
  • Shortness of breath: Many obese seniors require oxygen when performing any physical activities.
Obesity Precautions

Obese seniors can follow certain precautions to prevent additional weight gain, and to hopefully lose a few pounds.

  1. Exercise: Although it is difficult for an obese senior to exercise, any form of physical activity can be beneficial.
  2. Follow a diet plan: Seniors should manage their daily calorie intake and try to eat a healthy diet in order to lose weight. Consulting with a dietician or physician may be beneficial in choosing a diet plan that fits their custom needs.
  3. Deal with depression: An obese senior who is battling depression should seek professional help from their physician, and support from their family and loved ones.
Obesity Medical Alert Conclusion

Medical alert services are beneficial for many obese seniors because they provide peace of mind. The senior may not feel like they are alone when they know they can quickly and efficiently summon help. Living life as an obese person can be difficult. Not only does the senior battle their weight problem and its limitations, they are also usually faced with many other health problems such as heart disease, stroke, falls, high blood pressure, and diabetes. All of these conditions can lead to a health emergency during which help must be obtained immediately. Medical alerts are an ideal safety precaution that could also save a life.

Kimberly Sharpe - Senior Advisor

Kimberly is senior researcher with Grandfolk® providing in-depth product and service reviews to empower senior buying decisions.