Where to Turn When a Loved One Requires a Specialized Diet

specialized diet
These tips can help family caregivers provide support for loved ones who require a specialized diet.

A nutritious diet is vital for a long, healthy life. For older adults especially, eating right is incredibly important in order to help prevent and manage certain medical issues, retain a healthy weight, and improve overall health. However, for many people, certain health conditions can impact dietary choices.

When a loved one’s health conditions make it necessary to implement a specialized diet, it can be difficult to know where to start. What changes will need to be made? Which foods need to be avoided? Will an entirely new diet plan need to be instituted? The care experts at Nightingale Homecare offer information on which medical conditions typically require a specialized diet and how to support loved ones through dietary changes.

  1. Diabetes: A diagnosis of diabetes can feel overwhelming. There are a number of recommended lifestyle changes that people need to make in order to optimize health. Managing blood sugar levels is the key factor in staying healthy with diabetes. A diabetic-friendly meal plan will include non-starchy veggies, such as leafy greens, broccoli, green beans, etc., a focus on whole foods as opposed to processed items, and a reduction of added sugars and refined grains like pasta and white bread.
  2. High cholesterol: A buildup of cholesterol in the body can have dire consequences for the heart. Sometimes, people with high cholesterol are prescribed medications to help keep it regulated, but often, high cholesterol can be controlled with diet. The DASH eating plan is frequently recommended to help lower cholesterol. This plan focuses on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats like fish and poultry, and low-fat dairy. It also limits sugary foods and those that are high in saturated fats.
  3. Heart disease: For those with heart disease, a healthy diet is key to preventing further complications. Focusing on what foods a person with heart disease can have as opposed to what they can’t have helps make meals feel more manageable. As with high cholesterol, limiting saturated fats and incorporating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is important. Protein from lean meats is also recommended.
  4. Arthritis: It may seem odd, but diet can have an effect on arthritis as well. There are a number of foods that can help fight the inflammation caused by arthritis, thereby reducing joint pain. According to the Arthritis Foundation, the Mediterranean Diet can be a helpful plan to follow as it reduces inflammation, promotes foods that are beneficial to joints, and can help with weight loss which eases joint pain.

As always, it is important to consult with a loved one’s doctor about the best diet and nutrition plan to follow for their diagnosis.

At Nightingale Homecare, we are dedicated to helping our clients maintain a healthy lifestyle, no matter their age or diagnosis. We offer a special program to ensure the right level of nutrition for everyone we serve. Through our Nourish Concierge Dietician services, we provide access to registered dieticians who are highly-skilled at uncovering a variety of factors that contribute to individuals being at nutritional risk and ensuring improved nutritional health and optimal hydration status. Our dieticians provide expert recommendations that are tailored to each person’s specific conditions, needs, and preferences. The Nourish Concierge Dietician program also provides counseling, planning, and in-depth education to ensure a successful outcome.

If you have a loved one who has recently received a diagnosis that may require a specialized diet, the care team at Nightingale Homecare can help! Our caregivers can help individuals plan, shop for, and prepare nutritious meals based on their specific dietary requirements to ensure optimum health. To learn more about our Nourish Concierge Dietician program and our wide range of in-home care services and how they can benefit someone you love, contact us today at 602-926-1157.