Gluten-free for Older Adults: A Trend or a Necessity?

In recent years we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the popularity of going gluten-free.  Social media touts the health benefits and food labels can add to the confusion.  When caring for older adults, it’s important to ask, “Is this just a trend or a medical necessity?”

For some older adults, gluten-free dining is the only proven treatment for celiac disease.  Celiac disease is an autoimmune digestive disease that damages the small intestine.  It is diagnosed in elders, over the age of 55, at two times the average of other age groups. 

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Mealtime with COPD: Foods for Better Breathing

COPD is a common lung disease that makes breathing harder over time. Symptoms continue to worsen and interfere with activities of daily living like walking, eating and caring for oneself. Healthful eating is critical to provide extra energy and improve health outcomes.

Elders with COPD are at a much greater risk of malnutrition and its serious consequence like falls, fractures and trips to the hospital. To reduce risk of malnutrition, encourage extra calories and nutrient dense foods. Try these tips for improved nutrition and better breathing:

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Vital Nutrition: Caregiver Tips for Improving an Elder's Appetite

We know that sometimes just getting an elder to eat can be a challenge.  They may tell their caregiver they are not hungry, or food just doesn’t appeal to them.  Research has confirmed time and again that good nutrition can improve chronic conditions and increase an elder’s vitality.

Trouble chewing or swallowing, side effects of medication,  chronic disease and even loneliness can all contribute to poor appetite.  No matter the cause, eating poorly leads to weight and muscle loss, decreased strength and mobility and a greater risk of falls or entering the hospital.

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Nutrition Support to Fight the Flu: Tips for Protecting Elders

 

There are many things we can do as caregivers to protect our elderly clients – covering coughs, washing hands and getting our own flu vaccine.  But we often overlook one thing – an elder’s own immune system. It is true that the immune system in older adults is slower to recognize and rid the body of germs. But a slower immune system can still do its part in protecting against the flu and other viruses. Here are a few simple tips for immune support.

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Heart Failure and Holiday Meals: Keeping Elders Safe at Home

Its vital that the elder take an active role in managing their heart failure to avoid hospitalization or other consequences, but medical experts believe that many patients don’t have a basic understanding of the disease and what can be done to improve outcomes.  Caregivers should help educate their elder clients about lifestyle and food choices that can help or hinder the elder’s well-being.  Empowering an elder to make informed choices about meals provides a sense of control and honors their wishes.

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