By the time we reach our 60s, most women know a thing or two about our bodies. Most of us have learned to love ourselves, warts and all. After years of trying to please others, most of us are even able to see the funny site of the aging process. At the same time, women over 60 still face a lot of outside pressure when it comes to their appearance. This is one of the reasons that I’m a fan of the “positive aging” approach that Cindy Joseph and others recommend. We need an alternative to all that “anti-aging nonsense.
Today, I wanted to draw attention to an issue that doesn’t get a lot of press, but, that has the potential to impact many women (and men for that matter) in the Boomerly community. The issue that I want to raise is eating disorders among older adults.
According to a report by the International Journal of Eating Disorders, 13% of women over 50 suffered from an eating disorder in the previous 5 years. In addition, the study found that 62% of women in this age group felt that their weight had a negative impact on their life.
Eating disorders can be devastating at any age, but, it occurs to me that they present a unique problem for older adults. When someone in their teens or 20s has an eating disorder, they have a built-in support system of school administrators, family and friends to help. Their road to recovery is often long and hard, but, at least they have people to help them get started.
Many older women lack the support system that we had in our younger years. As a result, it may be harder for us to get the help we need. This is all the more reason that we need to help each other.
If you feel like you might have an eating disorder, please reach out for help. Talk to your doctor, do a Google search for support centers in your state or talk with a friend. If you know someone who may be going through a hard time, please reach out to them. Let’s support each other and help the other members of our community to live healthy, happy lives after 60.
Are you surprised that such a high percentage of older women have suffered from an eating disorder recently? Do you know anyone who has recovered from an eating disorder? What did their experience teach you? Please join the discussion.
I recently recorded an interview with women’s health expert, Lynda Goldman, on the topic of healthy eating habits for older women. Enjoy the show!