Dietary Practices Aging Adults with Parkinson’s Should Follow

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Dietary Guidelines for Seniors with Parkinson's Disease in Winnipeg, MB

According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, there’s no specific diet prescribed for people with Parkinson’s. However, it’s still important for seniors living with Parkinson’s disease to enjoy a healthy, balanced diet to handle their symptoms as well as possible. Here are some dietary guidelines to consider and recommend if you have a senior loved one with Parkinson’s disease.

Stay Away from Fad Diets

In general, fad diets should be avoided. However, they can be even more problematic for seniors with Parkinson’s disease. The main issue with such diets is an overemphasis on certain nutrients and the potential for nutritional deficiencies that may affect symptoms. The Parkinson’s Foundation recommends following U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines. They suggest a diet that includes: • Fresh fruits and vegetables • Grain products • Fiber-rich foods • Protein-rich foods • Low-fat dairy products Some seniors with Parkinson’s find it challenging to prepare healthy meals on their own. If your elderly loved one needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of senior home care. Our caregivers provide transportation to and from medical appointments and social events, nutritious meal preparation, assistance with daily exercise, and help with everyday tasks like bathing, grooming, and light housekeeping.

Drink More Water to Help with Digestive Issues

A reduced level of the neurotransmitter dopamine increases the risk of digestive issues and constipation in seniors with Parkinson’s. Drinking more water can help with this problem by easing digestive difficulties and making bowel movements easier. Fiber-rich foods, including apples, bananas, beets, oats, and almonds, can be beneficial for this purpose as well. If drinking more water creates urinary issues or painful bloating for your loved one, foods with high water content can minimize these problems. Options include watermelon, butternut squash, celery, and grapefruit. Issues with digestion are just one way Parkinson’s disease can affect a senior’s overall health. There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional in-home care. Winnipeg families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place.

Pay Attention to Medication & Food

Certain foods may interfere with the absorption of medication being taken to manage Parkinson’s symptoms. If an empty stomach is an issue, light snacks such as crackers, yogurt cups, or applesauce may be helpful. Also, some Parkinson’s drugs cannot be taken with high-protein meals. Because of potential issues with food and medication, it may be necessary to do some experimenting to see what works best for your loved one.

Opt for Easy-to-Swallow Foods

Seniors with Parkinson’s may reach a point where they have difficulty swallowing because of a loss of control of their mouth and throat muscles. If this is a dietary issue for your loved one, include soft foods in his or her diet that are still healthy and nutritious. Delicious and nutritious possibilities include: • Smoothies with fruit • Yogurt with berries and other fresh fruit • Pureed or broth-based soups • Soft tuna or chicken salad

Enjoy Brain-Friendly Foods

Parkinson’s affects nerve cells deep within the brain. Over time, it can also contribute to cognitive issues, which are referred to as Parkinson’s dementia. For this reason, a balanced Parkinson’s diet should also include foods that help the brain get a steady flow of nutrients. Brain-friendly foods that can serve this purpose include: • Salmon, herring, tuna, and other fatty fish • Unsalted nuts and seeds • Brown rice and other whole grains • Broccoli and other green leafy veggies • Soy products

Address Physical Eating Challenges

Parkinson’s-related tremors and stiffness can make it physically difficult to eat, which could contribute to unhealthy weight loss or malnutrition. Solutions include using cups with lids and straws along with weighted utensils or ones designed to be gripped easily.  Though seniors with Parkinson’s need to eat healthy, they may not be able to make nutritious meals without the help of family members and other caregivers. Performing daily tasks while simultaneously managing the symptoms of a serious illness can be challenging for seniors. The Winnipeg live-in care experts at Home Care Assistance are available 24/7 to make sure your loved one has the care he or she needs to remain safe and comfortable while aging in place. If your loved one needs professional care, Home Care Assistance is here to help. To hire a compassionate, dedicated caregiver, call us at (204) 489-6000 today.

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