elderly home care and parkinson's diseaseWelcome back to the Griswold Blog. This post will continue our commemoration of Parkinson’s Awareness with nutritional tips for Parkinson’s sufferers. 

First of all, it’s crucial for your loved one to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. Eating well not only improves energy levels, which deteriorate with Parkinson’s, but also helps medications work more effectively. For healthy eating tips for the elderly, check out this previous blog post that honors National Nutrition Month. Our blog post on elderly heart health also contains extensive advice for ensuring a well-balanced diet — crucial for anyone in older age, but especially for those with health conditions and diseases.

But there are nutritional tips specific to Parkinson’s, too.

While there is no known cure, there are medications that are used to help treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s. Unfortunately, these medications often induce nausea and vomiting. Here are some tips to control and relieve the nausea*:

  • Cool, sweetened, non-acidic drinks.

Ice-cold, nonalcoholic drinks relax the stomach, but the effect is increased if the drink is slightly sweetened with sugar, artificial sweetener or honey. If your loved one resists the sweetener idea, water is the best bet. Also, make sure he or she stays away from acidic drinks, like soda or orange, grapefruit and tomato juices. Drink beverages in between meals instead of during them, especially if reduced appetite is a problem. And always remind your loved one to drink slowly.

  • Stay away from the grease.

Fried foods like cheeseburgers, hamburgers, onion rings and French fries are hard to process for the stomach and can trigger or extend and intensify episodes of nausea.

  • Small snacks eaten early, often and before bed.

Nausea often hits in the morning, so encourage your loved one to eat a few crackers before getting out of bed to help prevent discomfort before it starts. Consider keeping a box of crackers within reach from his or her bed. To go a step further in proactively preventing nausea, suggest that your loved one eat a high-protein snack, like a slice of cheese or lean meat, before going to bed. Having something solid in the stomach while resting helps stave morning queasiness. This also applies to small, bland snacks –or smaller, more frequent meals — throughout the day. And, like with drinking, remind your loved one to eat slowly and not to mix hot and cold substances.

Note: The smell of hot or warm foods often induces nausea, so meals and snacks at cold or room temperatures are best.

  • Rest after eating.

Activity after eating may upset the stomach even more, so encourage your loved one to take it easy after snacks and meals. Keeping the head elevated helps calm the stomach. Encourage your loved one not to brush his or her teeth after eating, as the toothpaste may make nausea worse.

If nausea continues, consult your loved one’s doctor for additional methods to ease the stomach.

Food isn’t the only thing that can help ease your loved one’s discomfort. Check back soon or subscribe to get exercise and movement tips to relieve the symptoms of Parkinson’s. 

What foods do you or your loved one with Parkinson’s eat? Share with us in the comments.