Getting Your Parent Started on a Gluten-Free Diet

Getting Your Parent Started on a Gluten-Free Diet
The only form of treatment available to the approximately three million people throughout the United States who are currently living with Celiac Disease is a gluten-free diet. Gluten is the protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, and rye, as well as derivatives from these grains. Strictly avoiding this protein allows a person with Celiac Disease to control their symptoms and avoid the negative consequences that can result. for many people early in their journey with Celiac Disease, the concept of starting a gluten-free diet can seem daunting. Gluten and the ingredients containing gluten appear in a tremendous number of foods and products, and it can seem overwhelming to learn to avoid these foods, as well as cross contact when preparing a gluten-free meals and snacks. As a family caregiver, you can help your parent manage their Celiac Disease more effectively by getting them started on a gluten-free diet in ways that are less daunting, and more enjoyable.

Use these tips to help get your parents started on a gluten-free diet:
  • Learn to read labels intently. Many foods now are labeled gluten-free, but that does not mean your parent has to eat only those foods with this label. Talk to their doctor about what contains gluten, and learn to read labels carefully to find those products that are safe for your parent
  • Look for alternatives. There are many alternatives to the various foods and ingredients that people with Celiac Disease should not eat. These alternatives can be used to create the meals and snacks your parent has always enjoyed, but without the gluten that can damage their health. Some gluten-free alternatives include almond flour, chickpea flour, pea flour, potato flour, and more
  • Focus on whole foods. When starting a diet as restrictive as a gluten-free diet, it's easy to fall into the pattern of eating only special foods specifically designed and marketed toward that diet. Eating only gluten-free labeled foods can not only be very expensive, but it can also strictly limit what your parent consumes. This can quickly become tedious and frustrating, but it can also prevent your parent from getting the nutrients they need. supplementing their diet with specially designed gluten free products is fine, but focused primarily on whole foods such as fruits and vegetables or, lean meats and other sources of protein, and grains that do not contain gluten
  • Keep in mind if your parent has been living with Celiac Disease for years without proper diagnosis, their body is suffering the effects of consuming gluten. This includes damage to the small intestine that can make your parent quite sick. It takes time for the body to heal, which means even after your parent has started a gluten-free diet, they may experience symptoms. Do not let this discourage your senior, or be a reason for them to stop trying to eat only gluten-free. Instead, encourage them to focus even more on avoiding gluten so they can give their body the opportunity to heal and get stronger 
Being a family caregiver for your aging parents can be one of the most fulfilling and meaningful decisions you can make. It can also be one of the most challenging and potentially overwhelming experiences you can have. Meeting the needs of an elderly adult, particularly one who is living with major challenges or health problems, while also juggling other needs such as caring for your children, maintaining your career, and taking care of your house, can lead to stress, diminished health and well-being, and the feeling that you have more to do than time and effort to do it. Fortunately, home care can help. Adding a care provider to your care routine is a fantastic way to fill care gaps, ensure your parent's needs are fulfilled in the ways that are right for them, and relieve your stress. This supports a better quality of life for both of you throughout their later years.

If you or an aging loved one are considering caregivers in Avenues, UT, contact the caring staff at Interim Healthcare. Call today 801-401-3515.

Author: Michael and Marlena Hawkins, Owners, Interim HealthCare, Salt Lake City, UT 

Interim HealthCare of Salt Lake City has been in business since February 2014, providing in-home personal care and support services that help our elderly and/or disabled neighbors live enriched, safe and independent lives. Our goal is to provide customized care and support services that make it possible for our clients to remain in the comfort of their own homes rather than relocate to an assisted living facility. Interim HealthCare is family owned by Michael and Marlana Hawkins, and is a Veteran Owned Small Business.


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