Therapeutic Diet Plans to Care for Elderly Loved Ones
Updated: Jan 15
When we think of care taking, we often focus on children and adolescents. In our efforts to care for the young people in our lives, sometimes we forget to consider our elderly loved ones. This is why today, I'd like to discuss caring for elders.
Over the past few months, studies have proven that adults 60 and over as well as those with preexisting conditions are more likely to experience severe reactions to the Covid-19 virus. Now more than ever, we need to make sure our elderly community is happy and healthy. Through my Ayurvedic training, I've learned key immunity-boosting elderly care tips that I'd like to share with you in this difficult time.
How Do Our Wisdom Years Affect Our Bodies?
Before we dive into elderly diet plans, let's address the anxiety-inducing elephant in the room; we live in an age-phobic culture. You may fear your quality of life will inevitably worsen as you age. This isn't always true! By compassionately caring for our elders, we learn how we can care for ourselves when we enter our wisdom years.
I like to think of aging in terms of Ayurveda. When we enter our wisdom years (ages 50-60 and up), we experience more Vata properties of being. Vata represents the elements of air and space with primarily dry and mobile qualities. As we age, we experience the effects of Vata on our bodies. These are some of the signs and symptoms of an excess of Vata in our bodies:
Digestive issues related to mobility (unhealthy bowels, IBS, constipation)
Dryness in skin and bones (wrinkles, brittle bones)
Muscle and joint pains
If reading about these symptoms makes you nervous, consider all the agency you have over your choices. Through a thoughtful elderly diet plan, you can ensure that you and your loved ones enjoy a high quality of life as you enter your wisdom years.
4 Steps for an Immunity-Boosting Elderly Diet Plan
Now that we've examined the affects of aging on our bodies, let's unpack my four key elderly care tips.
Step 1: Digestion Support
When caring for someone elderly, monitor their bowel movements. For some, this may be a bit of an uncomfortable topic. Even so, bowels give us important information about digestion health. Take a deep breath and have the conversation because it can only benefit your loved one's health. If your loved one experiences symptoms of IBS or constipation, consider consulting a health professional.
Additionally, it is helpful for elderly people to maintain a steady eating routine. When they experience hunger pains, they know it's time to eat. Over-eating or having irregular meals can upset digestive health. Additionally, you can encourage them to drink warm lime water in the morning to aid digestion.
Step 2: Vata-Pacifying Foods
As we move towards Fall, a Vata season, pay extra attention to your loved one's therapeutic diet. Make sure they are eating food that pacifies dry Vata qualities. Incorporate these Vata-pacifying foods into their diet to keep them hydrated and healthy:
Foods with warming spices like ginger
Foods that are cooked like stews and soups
Foods with healthy oils like olive oil, avocado oil, almond oil or ghee (clarified butter)
Step 3: Foods That Support Those in Their Wisdom Years
According to Ayurveda, there are a number of foods that help power through the seven tissues, or seven dhatus. Essentially, these foods support healthy elderly diet plans. If you are caring for an elderly person, consider adding these foods to their meals.
Moringa is rich in protein and iron. You can take it before or after a meal.
Veggies with a sweet taste like carrots or beets
Asparagus, okra and broccoli
Ghee (Clarified butter)
All natural yogurt to promote healthy digestion
Avocados, bananas and dates
FOODS TO AVOID: As elderly people experience more properties of Vata, avoid including dryer foods like pasta or cereal in their diets.
Step 4: Creating Gentle Movement Routines
One of my favorite elderly care tips is to incorporate gentle movement in your loved ones' routines. When we experience the dry effects of Vata, movement becomes less fluid and more painful. An action as simple as taking a restorative yoga class, going on a 15-minute walk or stretching for a few minutes each day will generate synovial fluid in joints and keep the muscles lubricated.
Supporting Our Elderly Communities
During these trying times the elderly community may be experiencing an increase in their anxiety as they are more vulnerable. By making a few simple lifestyle and diet adjustments, you can help your elderly loved ones thrive in the third act of their lives. If your loved one wants to feel more involved in their wellness process, perhaps invite them to engage in an Ayurvedic health consultation.
AARP came out with an incredibly useful resource for caregiving employees that helps you understand the current landscape of caregivers and how you can encourage your employer to give you the support you need and deserve.
Do you have questions about elderly diet plans or lifestyle tips? Are you curious about how to maintain a healthy lifestyle while entering your wisdom years? I am ready and excited to help you navigate caring for your loved ones as well as yourself. Click to book a complimentary breakthrough call to discuss any questions you may have.