Science is proving that people really are what they eat. The choices you help your senior loved one make about his or her diet play a role in how well he or she thinks and feels. Your parent’s diet may even be able to slow the progression of the disease. These six dietary guidelines are a great way to start getting your loved one’s meal plans aligned with his or her efforts to stave off Alzheimer’s symptoms.
1. Limit Sweets
Every senior deserves a little treat now and then, but moderation is key. Too much sugar in the bloodstream can affect how the brain functions. This guideline is especially important for seniors who also have diabetes, since blood sugar fluctuations also affect mood and behavior. If you give your loved one a sweet treat, keep the portion small. Fruits and other naturally sweet foods are also a great substitute for sugary desserts.
2. Avoid Fried Foods
Greasy foods contain high levels of cholesterol and saturated fats that affect heart health. Your loved one needs plenty of blood flowing through the brain to think clearly. Once blood flow is restricted by clogged arteries, brain changes can follow. Switch to baking or air frying foods whenever possible.
If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of at-home care Roseville, CA, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
3. Stay Hydrated
The brain has high water content, and dehydration can actually cause seniors to experience some of the symptoms of dementia. Seniors should be drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Since most seniors find it challenging to finish an 8-ounce glass of water in one sitting, you may need to offer it between meals and snacks. Certain foods can also help your loved one stay hydrated. Watermelon is an option that has a high amount of water and electrolytes.
4. Limit Salt Intake
Too much salt can counteract the benefits of staying hydrated. In addition to pulling water from the body’s cells, salt can also cause high blood pressure and increase the risk of a stroke. Having a stroke could cause Alzheimer’s disease to get worse. Try to avoid processed foods that contain high levels of salt, and use safer options to flavor your loved one’s meals, such as fresh herbs.
If you need help planning and preparing healthy meals for your loved one, a professional caregiver can be a great source of support. There are many reasons seniors might need assistance at home. Some may require regular mental stimulation due to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, while others might only need part-time assistance with exercise and basic household tasks. Home Care Assistance is a leading elderly home care provider. Families rely on our expertly trained caregivers to help their senior loved ones maintain a high quality of life.
5. Eat Superfoods
The healthiest foods for seniors with Alzheimer’s contain high levels of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that feed the brain. Blueberries are one superfood seniors can enjoy as a snack or a topping on their favorite breakfast foods. Salmon and other sources of omega-3 fatty acids are also known to boost brain functioning.
6. Avoid Chemicals
As a general rule, natural foods are the safest option for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease. Try to choose foods that are as close as they can be to what you get from the ground. For instance, air-popped popcorn is a great snack for older adults, but microwave popcorn isn’t. Microwave popcorn contains diacetyl, a chemical that has been shown to increase amyloid plaques in the brain.
The days, weeks, and months following an Alzheimer’s diagnosis can be challenging for both seniors and their families. However, these challenges can be made less stressful with the help of caregivers trained in professional Alzheimer’s care. Roseville Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one enjoy the golden years while simultaneously managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. If you need professional home care for your loved one, Home Care Assistance is just a phone call away. Reach out to one of our Care Managers today at 916.226.3737.