Does Your Parent Require a Special Diet?

Elder Care in Raleigh NC: Does Your Senior Require a Special Diet?As your parent ages, a special diet may become necessary. If your mom has diabetes, her diet will need to focus on cutting sugar. If your dad has high blood pressure, you need to cut down on the amount of salt that's used. Those are just a few of the special diets you may come across when you're caring for aging adults. Here are tips that may help you with your menu planning and meal preparation.

Low-Sodium Diets for Kidney Disease and High Blood Pressure

If your parent has kidney disease or high blood pressure, a no-salt or low-salt diet is necessary. The easiest way to make this type of diet work is by getting rid of salt. If it's not available, it's less likely that you or your parent will be tempted to use it.

In place of salt, keep a few items on hand. First, lemons and limes are ideal. The clean taste of citrus adds flavor without adding sodium. Second, keep fresh herbs on hand. You can grow them in small pots and keep them on a window sill. Third, stock up on salt-free blends like Mrs. Dash.

People who are on a diet for kidney disease will also benefit from avoiding foods that are high in phosphorus and potassium. Liquids may need to be limited, so it's important to talk to your parent's doctor for guidance.

Sugar-Free Diets for Diabetes

Your parent has been diagnosed with diabetes. It's time to eliminate sugar from the diet. It's hard to eliminate natural sugars found in produce, but you can stick to fruits and vegetables that have a low glycemic index.

The glycemic index is a rating of how much impact a food will have on your blood sugar level. The lower the number, the better that food is. These are good options for fruit when you want a low glycemic load.

  • Apples
  • Dried apricots
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes
  • Strawberries

These vegetables have a lower glycemic load:

  • Carrots
  • Cruciforms
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Tomatoes

Low-Fat Diet for Heart Disease

After a heart attack or diagnosis of heart disease, your mom or dad will need to avoid saturated fats and watch blood cholesterol levels. Typically, this kind of diet has you cutting out beef, veal, and pork. Organ meats like liver and kidneys should be avoided. Processed meats like sausages and hot dogs are out. Healthier oils like olive or avocado oil are ideal. Lots of fresh vegetables and whole grains are recommended.

Cooking a diet specific to your parent's needs proves difficult when you have others in your family waiting for a meal. Rather than spend time cooking two or three different meals, hire elder care aides to prepare your mom's or dad's meal. Caregivers also help by doing the grocery shopping, planning menus with your mom or dad, and putting away groceries after shopping. Call an elder care agency to learn more.