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Is There a Possibility of Celiac Disease Developing in the Senior Years?

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Celiac disease is becoming common in older adults, including those who have tested negative for it in the past. The autoimmune condition is more common in seniors with family histories of the disease, but unhealthy eating habits can also increase the risk. Take a look at some of the factors associated with celiac disease as well as prevention tips and treatment for seniors diagnosed with the condition.

Increased Risk

Developing celiac disease is common in the senior years because many older adults have poor eating habits that include large amounts of gluten products. If your aging loved one enjoyed eating pasta, bread, cakes, cookies, popcorn, and chips in the past, encourage adding more nuts, plain yogurt, fruits, vegetables, fatty fish, and lean meats to his or her current diet. These dietary changes can lower the risk of celiac disease, among other health issues. 

In New Hampshire, elderly home care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy.

Difficulty in Diagnosing

The biggest issue is that most people living with celiac disease don’t experience digestive symptoms. Instead, they develop anemia or experience feelings of fatigue or depression. Pay close attention to your loved one’s daily habits, and never dismiss a symptom. For instance, if your loved one has sudden discomfort and weight loss combined with issues such as skin rashes and diarrhea, take him or her to the doctor immediately. A physician will generally order blood tests to look for antibodies in a senior’s blood. If your loved one has elevated levels of antibody proteins, this could indicate he or she has celiac disease. 

Digestive issues can be especially problematic for aging adults. Living with a serious health condition can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. New Hampshire seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.

Other Factors

Seniors are at a higher risk of developing this disease because their immune systems have aged. Changes in the composition of intestinal bacteria are also a factor because they could trigger a negative autoimmune response. The trigger could also be the loss of a spouse, multiple medications, surgical procedures, infections, and other situations seniors are more susceptible to due to aging and cognitive changes.

Treatment

The only treatment for celiac disease is to follow a gluten-free diet. It may seem simple, but since many foods contain gluten, seniors may have difficulty eating the right items. However, you can take your loved one to see a specialist or a skilled dietitian who can help with a gluten-free diet plan and other health tips, such as recommendations for dietary supplements. Wheat is the worst food for seniors with celiac disease, so you need to remove it from your loved one’s diet immediately. Instead of consuming products made with wheat flour, seniors should eat products made with bean, soy, or rice flour. Keep in mind that lean meats, vegetables, and fruits are naturally gluten free, so consider adding more of these foods to your parent’s daily diet.

Professional caregivers with training in nutrition and healthy habits can be a wonderful source of information and support for seniors who have celiac disease or are trying to prevent it. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of senior home care. New Hampshire families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. Trust your loved one’s care to the professionals at Home Care Assistance. To create a customized home care plan for your loved one, call (603) 471-3004 today.

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