Most people assume food allergies only occur in children, but adults can develop this disease as well. Seniors are at risk of food allergies because their immune systems grow weaker with age. Some experts estimate up to 10 percent of seniors have been diagnosed with food allergies. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with late-onset food allergies, there are some things you can do to help him or her manage the symptoms.
Get to the Doctor
If you suspect your loved one has a food allergy, take him or her to a doctor for testing. Many food allergies can be detected through blood tests and skin pricking. Some doctors may perform an oral food challenge, which means administering the concerning food to the senior while monitoring results.
Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional home care. Douglas County, CO, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.
Try a Trial Food Elimination Diet
Your loved one’s doctor may suggest avoiding the potential food allergen for two to four weeks, as part of a trial and error diet. If you suspect your loved one has a specific allergy, you can also do this test on your own. Within a month, all signs and symptoms should disappear.
Know the Most Common Food Allergens for Seniors
Over 90 percent of all food allergies result from cow’s milk, eggs, fish, peanuts, wheat, tree nuts, soy, and shellfish. If your loved one experiences a swollen throat, upset stomach, or other digestive issues after consuming any of these foods, eliminate the food from his or her diet. If your loved one has difficulty breathing, take him or her to a doctor immediately.
Read Food Labels
Once your loved has been diagnosed with a food allergy, read food labels carefully so you can help him or her avoid those allergens. However, not all allergens are listed on the labels. Some products are processed in plants, which may contaminate them with other allergens. It is against the law for a company to conceal this information. If you have any questions, contact the manufacturer.
Certain processed foods can lead to the development of dementia and other types of cognitive decline in the long run. A dementia diagnosis can be difficult for seniors and their families to face. If you need help caring for your aging loved one while he or she manages the challenges of dementia, turn to Home Care Assistance of Douglas County. Dementia care isn’t the only thing we specialize in. All of our hourly and live-in caregivers are also trained to assist seniors during stroke recovery and help those living with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s maintain a higher quality of life.
Create Alternative Recipes
If your loved one is allergic to a particular item, come up with alternatives. For example, your loved one can try almond milk if he or she becomes allergic to cow’s milk. If wheat or gluten is the problem, help your loved one learn how to work with other flour options like coconut, rice, and almond.
Prepare Meals Yourself
For seniors who don’t prefer cooking or are unable to do so, managing a food allergy can be overwhelming. It may be time for you to help with meals. Invite your loved one to eat with you and your family regularly, or cook several meals in advance so he or she does not have to worry about food.
Ensure Your Loved One Does Not Feel Left Out
Having a food allergy can make some seniors feel left out at barbecues, parties, and restaurants. When your loved one attends a social event, make sure he or she always has some non-allergen food to eat. Contact restaurants ahead of time to find which of their dishes do not contain the allergens.
Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Douglas County, CO, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity. To create a tailored care plan for your aging loved one, call us at 720-580-5378 today.