November is Gluten-Free Diet Awareness Month, and there’s no better time to get educated about the details of this common condition. It’s especially relevant if you are a family caregiver who is responsible for a dependent elderly relative. Not only does celiac disease affect the aging adult, but it has a direct impact on your life as well.
While most people think that celiac disease, the body’s intolerance for the protein gluten, only manifests in a person’s early years, geriatric celiac disease is gaining more recognition. If your elderly loved one has recently been diagnosed, or you suspect they are demonstrating the symptoms, it’s up to you to get them to their doctor.
Celiac disease is a result of how the body reacts toward gluten, found in wheat, rye, and some other grains. When a person eats a food that contains gluten, the intestines react negatively. Some of the symptoms of celiac disease after eating gluten include gas, belching, nausea, vomiting, painful bowel movements, and constipation. Parts of the intestine become damaged with celiac disease, making it a challenge for your aging loved one’s body to absorb nutrients from food.
So how can you help your elderly relative live well with celiac disease? Organizers of the Gluten-Free Diet Awareness Month resource and information campaign want you and other family caregivers to learn the best ways to implement this specialized diet for your aging loved one. Even if your elderly relative has been dealing with celiac disease for years, there are always new developments, treatment options, and meal ideas that you can learn from.
Remember that your aging loved one is dependent on you due to physical or cognitive decline. Most likely, you have home care providers, family members and friends to come to the home to give assistance for your elderly loved one. They all need to be aware of what foods are allowed in the senior’s meals as well as which ones to stay away from. Various resources available during Gluten-Free Diet Awareness Month can help sort the safe foods from the harmful ones.
It’s important for home care providers to prepare meals for seniors with lots of fruits and vegetables, plus beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, and dairy products. Other safe foods include flour from sources like buckwheat and rice. Home care providers can make wonderful meals and snacks without going near the ingredients that contain gluten. If there are any questions on meals, you can make connections with community resources, such as dieticians and celiac disease support groups.
With everyone working together to help manage celiac disease, your aging loved one won’t ever feel deprived of food. Their health and wellness will improve, because they aren’t struggling to stay healthy due to the side effects of ingesting gluten. If you have any questions, need a home care provider or otherwise desire advice on celiac disease in seniors, you can tap into all the information provide locally and online about Gluten-Free Diet Awareness Month.