Lifestyle factors such as diet can contribute to confusion (Parkinson’s dementia) and some of the other secondary symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease (PD), a condition that affects nearly a million Americans. For this reason, seniors with Parkinson’s are advised to follow a diet rich in antioxidant-abundant foods like green, leafy veggies and foods containing beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. But there are some foods best avoided by seniors with PD, like the ones mentioned below.
A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology suggests a link between Parkinson’s disease and dairy products. The researchers discovered there may be something in dairy products that affects oxidation levels in the brain and worsens certain PD-related symptoms. This appeared to be more of an issue in men than women, but it doesn’t apply to seniors taking calcium supplements.
Additional research discussed on the Company of Biologists website suggests a defect in the way the body processes calcium ions in bones also found in common dairy products like milk and cheese may contribute to the progression of Parkinson’s disease. Alternatives to dairy products seniors with Parkinson’s disease may want to consider include:
- Non-dairy yogurt instead of traditional yogurt
- Soy, rice, almond, or coconut milk
- Soy/nut-based cream cheeses
- Vegetable oil blends, nut butter, and coconut butter instead of margarine or regular butter
- Sorbets or ice cream made with non-dairy milk products
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 home care University Park, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
Alcoholic Beverages (in Excess)
The American Parkinson Disease Association advises that people with PD be cautious about alcohol consumption. The reason for this suggestion is because too much alcohol could worsen balance and gait issues.
Seniors with Parkinson’s may face some safety difficulties while aging in place. 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 elder care. You can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep your loved one safe and comfortable while aging in place.
Protein-Rich Foods (in Some Situations)
There’s a caveat with this option. This recommendation only applies to seniors with PD who have issues with levodopa absorption that may be related to what’s referred to as the “protein effect.” According to the American Parkinson Disease Association, this means certain dietary sources of protein could interfere with the absorption of levodopa. However, determining whether or not this is the case is a trial-and-error process, and it’s only a suspected problem for seniors who have unusual reactions to doses of levodopa medication.
The suggested solution isn’t to completely eliminate protein from your loved one’s diet. The body does need protein for muscle growth and other important functions. Instead, the recommendation is to serve more protein-rich foods toward the end of the day when your loved one is likely to be less active or to spread protein intake out evenly throughout the day
(Unhealthy) Foods High in Saturated Fats
There’s some research suggesting a diet that includes foods with high amounts of saturated fat may not be good for seniors with Parkinson’s, but other sources note that certain saturated fats could be good for individuals with PD. However, it’s generally agreed that seniors with Parkinson’s should maintain their health as much as possible so their bodies can respond better to various treatments and medications, which means staying away from heavily processed or fried foods with high amounts of unhealthy saturated fats.
As Parkinson’s progresses, aging adults tend to require more extensive help. If your senior loved one needs around-the-clock assistance at home, the University Park live-in care professionals at Home Care Assistance are here to help. Our proprietary Balanced Care Method was designed to promote longevity by encouraging seniors to focus on healthy eating, regular exercise, mental engagement, and other important lifestyle factors. To learn more about how we can help your loved one enjoy a higher quality of life while aging in place, give us a call today at (214) 363-3400.