If you are a family caregiver to your elderly parent, it can be a little overwhelming to find out that they need to start on a strict diet for their health. Celiac disease is when the body’s immune system reacts severely to eating gluten, found in many grains like wheat and barley. Many seniors have been diagnosed with celiac disease in their later years, even though they have eaten wheat and other grains for their entire lives. Because a strict gluten-free diet is the only treatment, it can seem as if meals and snacks are suddenly turned upside-down.
If your elderly mom or dad has been recently diagnosed with celiac disease, you are going to have to help them develop some management strategies to make sure they don’t ingest gluten, still meet all their nutritional requirements, and remain enthusiastic about food and eating.
Here are some management strategies that you can implement for a gluten-free diet for your aging mom or dad.
There’s a big learning curve when it comes to implementing a gluten-free diet. Many favorite foods, like bread, pizza, pasta and baked goods, contain wheat, which is the main source of gluten. Other grains with gluten include rye, barley and spelt.
Educate Everyone Else
Many people don’t bother to learn about celiac disease until it affects themselves or someone they know. Family members, elderly friends, church groups, community centers and anyone else involved in elderly care for your mom or dad should be made aware of the new dietary restrictions. If you use home care assistants or other hired help, make sure they are aware of the new diet as well. Leave written instructions as needed so there won’t be any misunderstandings.
Delicious and Nutritious Meals
Your elderly mom or dad will probably be feeling quite blue knowing they can no longer indulge in some of their favorite foods. The key to keeping them interested in eating and not feeling so deprived is to ensure that there are plenty of delicious meals and snacks on hand that do fit into the new gluten-free diet. They will be less likely to cheat and won’t be as depressed when they have tasty options that make them almost forget about what they are missing.
You don’t have to figure all of this out on your own. In fact, there are many websites, professional organizations, support groups and more with information, cookbooks, recipes, tips and tricks on managing celiac disease. You will be able to find answers to all your questions by tapping into this support system. Of course, regular meetings with a registered dietician are an excellent way to ensure you and your elderly mom or dad is on the right track for health and wellness.
There’s no doubt about it, specialty diets are hard to do even for the most dedicated. However, because your aging mom or dad’s health is on the line, you both can work together to make the new diet restrictions a normal part of their elderly care plan. The long-term effects of untreated celiac disease are devastating, so it’s worth it to keep your mom or dad feeling good and eating right.
IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED ONE ARE CONSIDERING IN-HOME ELDERLY CARE IN SUMMERLIN, NV, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT GOLDEN HEART SENIOR CARE. CALL TODAY 702-800-4616.