74-year-old Marsha had always had a candy bowl in her house. She loved the smiles on the faces of her grandchildren when she offered them a piece of chocolate from the bowl. Around holidays, the bowl became even more special as she stocked it with themed candies. At Halloween, foil wrapped chocolate pumpkins appeared in the bowls. The children loved picking out candies with silly faces on them. Marsha did, too. She usually ate a few pieces of the chocolate each day herself. However, after a bout of health problems, her own adult children started to worry about whether keeping candies in the house was a good idea. They wondered if Marsha might be eating too many of them and how they might affect her health. It turns out, that as long as the candy bowl was holding chocolate and Marsha ate it in moderation, the chocolate might actually be good for her.
Health Benefits of Chocolate
There have been numerous scientific studies conducted to determine whether chocolate might have some health benefits. The studies have found that dark chocolate has more health benefits than milk chocolate. Some of the health benefits are:
- Chocolate is nutritious. It contains fiber, iron, copper, and other nutrients.
- Chocolate may help reduce bad cholesterol in the blood.
- Drinking hot chocolate may improve blood flow to the brain, protecting it from memory decline and improving brain health.
- Eating chocolate may reduce the risk of heart failure.
- Dark chocolate may help with weight loss by reducing cravings for sugar, salt, and fat.
- Of course, the fact that chocolate has health benefits doesn’t mean your aging relative should gorge themselves on chocolate. It’s still candy and should be eaten in small quantities.
Elderly Care Can Offer Even Healthier Options
While it’s okay for most older adults to enjoy a little chocolate at Halloween, elderly care can help them to prepare fun Halloween-themed snacks that are also nutritious. Some ideas for elderly care providers and seniors to make together are:
- Strawberry Ghosts: Cut the tops off fresh strawberries and dip them in melted white chocolate. Add mini chocolate chips for eyes.
- Spiders on a Log: This is a twist on the classic “ants on a log” snack. Cut celery into sticks and fill them with peanut butter. Then, top them with tiny plastic spiders. (Note: If the older adult has dementia, skip the plastic spiders. They may be frightened by them or accidentally eat them. Use the traditional raisins instead.)
- Pumpkin Dippers: Cut carrots into disks. Use parsley and green onions to create leaves and stems. Skewer them in place with toothpicks. Then, plant your tasty pumpkins on a bed of the senior’s favorite vegetable dip.
Making their own Halloween treats with the help of an elderly care provider isn’t just a way to provide healthy snacks, it’s also a way for seniors to remain involved in the holiday. Elderly care providers can help them to cut vegetables and manipulate small pieces to make ghost faces or pumpkin stems.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in Whiting, NJ, contact the caring staff at Care Street Home Care’s Ocean/Monmouth Division. Call today 732-719-7011.