There isn’t a specific diet that people with Parkinson’s disease need to follow, but Parkinson’s can cause eating difficulties. In addition, your aging relative with Parkinson’s should try to eat well to improve their overall health. But, do eating problems and the need to eat well mean that older adults with Parkinson’s disease have to give up enjoying meals with family and friends at restaurants? Absolutely not! It just means that eating out takes a little more planning. If your loved one enjoys eating out, below are some tips for making restaurant visits more enjoyable.
Pick the Right Restaurant
It can be easier to dine at a restaurant that is set up well for the older adults needs. For example, it might be difficult for them to eat at a buffet-style restaurant that requires them to carry a tray and drink back to the table. Also, crowded restaurants can be hard for people with Parkinson’s to maneuver through, especially if they use a walker or wheelchair.
Time the Visit
Some Parkinson’s medications are affected by the timing of meals, so it’s important to pay attention to that schedule when planning an outing to a restaurant. If possible, it can be helpful to eat meals earlier than most other people. The restaurant will be less crowded. Having fewer people in the restaurant may make it more comfortable if the older adult is embarrassed about spilling due to tremors in their hands.
Make Healthy Choices
Eating at a restaurant doesn’t mean the older adult has to compromise a healthy diet. Select menu items that contain vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains. Choose foods that are prepared in a healthy manner, such as baked instead of fried, and those without cream sauces or excess fats. It can help to look up the restaurant’s menu online or call ahead to inquire about food choices and the availability of substitutes.
Bring Specialized Utensils
If your aging relative uses specialized utensils to make eating easier, make sure they bring them along. Restaurants are usually happy to make some accommodations for their customer’s needs. So, if a bendy straw is easier for the senior to use, ask if they have one available. You can also ask the restaurant to use dishes of different sizes and to fill cups or glasses halfway to prevent spilling.
If your aging relative enjoys going out to lunch with friends, elder care can help them continue to do so even as the disease progresses. An elder care provider can assist them to make healthy choices that are easier for them to eat. Elder care providers can also assist them to eat, if needed.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Robbinsville, NJ, please call the caring staff at Care Street Home Care. You can reach our Mercer/Burlington Division at (609) 496-5666.
Dr. Shelly, as he is fondly known, has served as an Alzheimer’s Support Group Facilitator in Mercer County and is a Certified Dementia Instructor. Knowledgeable, compassionate, and unusually devoted, his guidance is crucial in helping families understand their options and render decisions for their loved ones’ care plan. Dr. Shelly’s extensive experience, sincere and pleasant demeanor, and professional affiliations have made him a vital asset to Care Street.