As a caring and devoted family caregiver, you want what is best for your elderly mother. You may not even know how much caffeine she is consuming unless you track what caffeinated foods and beverages the senior center, other family members, senior care aides and others are preparing for her. If you are wondering about whether or not caffeine consumption is a problem for her, you should talk to her doctor and get some advice from them. However, it’s good to learn a little about caffeine and how it affects seniors particularly.
There are a lot of myths and rumors out there about caffeine, so you can sort through the information once and for all and decide whether or not it’s wise to limit your elderly mom’s caffeine intake.
Caffeine Can Provide Health Benefits for Seniors
Whether seniors get their caffeine from tea, coffee or soda, studies show that moderate amounts of the substance can actually provide some health benefits. Moderate amounts are defined as up to 400 milligrams of caffeine or the equivalent of one to four cups of coffee.
Because it is a stimulant to the nervous system, caffeine can boost energy, improve cognition and sharpen focus. Caffeine can also trigger the release of dopamine in the brain, which makes people feel happier. Studies show that regular caffeine consumption can reduce the risk of diseases in seniors, such as Parkinson’s disease, liver cancer, asthma, colon cancer, gallstones, migraines and skin cancer, just to name a few.
Caffeine Can Also Cause Health Issues in Seniors
While caffeine in moderation can be healthy, overconsumption can lead to all kinds of negative health problems. Daily consumption over 500 milligrams of caffeine is considered too much, especially for seniors because they often have a higher sensitivity. Caffeine addiction is a very real possibility for those that take in more than the equivalent of five cups of coffee.
Other negative side effects of too much caffeine include elevated blood pressure, dehydration, rapid heartbeat, and body temperature changes. Caffeine can also exacerbate chronic health conditions like ulcers, diabetes, gastritis, and osteoporosis. Seniors with nerve issues may also react poorly to caffeine overconsumption and experience jitters, irritability, muscle tremors and general nervousness. Caffeine can even interfere with certain medications or antibiotics that elderly adults may be taking, thereby neutralizing their effectiveness.
If you really want to know whether or not your aging mother’s caffeine intake is at appropriate elevels, start by tracking it. Then, check with her doctor. Together you can determine whether or not her caffeine levels need to be modified. You’ll have to work to ensure that information is spread to anyone that might be caring for her, like senior care aides, other family members, adult day care centers and more. She can also regulate her caffeine intake by having caffeine-free drinks and avoiding caffeine-laden food. The health benefits of caffeine for your elderly mother are numerous, but only when she has moderate amounts.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering home care services in Huntington, NY, please contact the caring staff at Family First Home Companions.
Serving all of Long Island. Call today: (631) 319-3961
Jennifer has specialized training in Alzheimer’s disease through the Long Island Alzheimer’s Association and the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation.She also volunteered her time with the Alzheimer's Disease Assistance Center of Long Island for 3 years by providing cognitive stimulation to an Alzheimer’s patient group.
Jennifer educates the community about elder care and speaks to caregiver support groups, senior centers, and at professional organizations.Topics include home safety, effective strategies for family caregiving, elder care planning, and awareness about elder abuse.
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