When an older adult is diagnosed with Parkinsons disease (PD), family members may not initially consider the impact the disease can have on the persons nutrition. After all, the symptoms most commonly associated with PD have to do with movement, such as tremors and mobility problems. However, PD can have a huge effect on the way a person eats and whether they are able to meet their nutritional needs. Below are 5 nutritional issues that affect people with PD.
#1 Bone Health Problems
Having PD makes older adults more likely to fall, which can cause serious injuries, like broken bones. In addition, studies show that people with PD are more prone to thinning bones. Because of this, it is even more important for people with PD to eat a diet that supports good bone health since thinning bones break more easily. To combat the problem, seniors with PD should eat foods rich in nutrients that support bone health, such as calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium. In addition, spending some time in the sun each day can also provide more vitamin D.
Many people with PD have trouble with constipation. Some of the medications that they take have constipation as a side effect. In addition, people with PD may have a harder time staying hydrated and arent able to exercise as much. To prevent constipation, people with PD need to eat foods high in fiber. The American Parkinsons Disease Association recommends getting between 25 and 35 grams of fiber per day and drinking plenty of fluids.
#3 Difficulty with Preparing and Eating Food
Motor symptoms of PD make doing certain tasks difficult. Tremors can make it hard to make food and even harder to eat it. Shaking hands can cause foods to fall off of utensils before it makes it to the mouth. It can be so frustrating that the senior may not want to eat.
Some medications used to treat PD can increase the older adults chances of becoming dehydrated. Dehydration can cause confusion, trouble with balance, weakness, and can even lead to death. To prevent dehydration, people with PD should try to drink around 64 ounces of water per day.
#5 Trouble Chewing and Swallowing
PD can affect a persons ability to chew and swallow food. As a result, the process of eating can be slow and difficult. A speech therapist may be able to help with these problems. However, it may also be necessary to change the consistency of foods to make them easier to manage.
If your aging relative with PD is struggling with nutritional problems, home care can help. Home care providers can prepare foods that are easier to eat while still offering as much nutritional value as possible. Home care providers can also assist the senior to eat when tremors make it too difficult to get food into their mouth.
If you or an aging loved one are considering home care in Eden Prairie, MN, and the surrounding areas, please contact the friendly staff at CareBuilders at Home Minnesota. Call today 612-260-2273.