Is a Gluten-Free Diet Right for my Elderly Parent?
When your elderly parent complains about cramps, bloating, nausea and belching shortly after eating, you may be tempted to think it’s just an effect of a sluggish digestive system due to old age.
However, many seniors are diagnosed with a condition called celiac disease that affects how their body processes the protein gluten. With celiac disease, the symptoms can easily derail your aging mom or dad’s health and quality of life.
If you need more information about celiac disease or even just to look further into a gluten-free life for your elderly parent, check out the resources available online and locally during November’s Gluten-Free Diet Awareness Month.
What Is Celiac Disease?
An adult-onset celiac disease has to do with the protein, gluten. It is found in food items that are made from wheat or rye. There is no cure for celiac disease and the only treatment is to completely avoid eating food with gluten in it. There are many foods that are off-limits for an elderly person, including bread, pasta, crackers, and pastries.
Transitioning Seniors to a Gluten-Free Diet
Making the transition from a standard diet to a gluten-free diet can be difficult for anyone newly diagnosed with celiac disease. However, for elderly adults that are physically dependent on family caregivers and home care providers, it can be quite problematic if everyone is not on the same page about meals.
Here are some of the most important tips on topics that family caregivers want to know about from Gluten-Free Diet Awareness Month:
- Gluten-Free Diet Awareness Month is held every November. Information about diet and organized by several organizations that inform, educate and support celiac disease patients and families.
- During Gluten-Free Diet Awareness Month, you can find local resources like senior community centers, clinics, and hospitals where you can learn more about celiac disease and celiac sensitivity.
- Making gluten-free meals can be a challenge, but with recipe and meal planning resources available during Gluten-Free Diet Awareness Month, there are ways to incorporate lots of the right food into meals and snacks.
- Family Caregivers Can Support Seniors with Celiac Disease
One way that you can ensure your aging mom or dad gets the proper meals is to hire a home care provider to assist them with their daily needs. As they are learning how to live with celiac disease, a home care provider can ease that transition by managing meal planning and preparation in addition to other duties.
Because ingesting gluten can really affect the health and wellness of a senior with celiac disease, it’s important that they eat healthy meals and snacks that are completely in line with a gluten-free diet. Not only will home care providers serve food that complies with their new diet, but they will increase nutritional intake with fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and healthy nuts and oils.
When family caregivers and home care providers use the diet and lifestyle tips provided by various organizations for November’s Gluten-Free Diet Awareness Month, they are ensuring the aging adult is not plagued by the problems and symptoms of their celiac disease.