If you are a family caregiver for one of the approximately three million people throughout the United States who are currently living with Celiac disease, you are aware of the challenges of maintaining a gluten-free diet. As the only treatment and management technique currently available for those living with Celiac, keeping gluten out of your parents diet is critical for managing their symptoms, and helping to preserve their health, well-being, and quality of life. Unfortunately, approximately 70% of those maintaining a gluten-free diet still report experiencing symptoms as a result of cross-contact. This occurs due to gluten containing foods inadvertently coming into contact with gluten-free foods, but can also happen when a person with Celiac comes into contact with a product containing hidden gluten. Being aware of the sources of hidden gluten common in households allows you to make better decisions about the products in your parents home, so you can make it easier for them to avoid gluten and manage their symptoms.
Some sources of hidden gluten to be aware of in the home of a senior with Celiac disease include:
- Hand lotion.
- Lip balms.
- Sponges used for cleaning surfaces, cookware, or utensils that have been used with products containing gluten.
- Cleaning putty.
- Hair care products.
- Pet food and treats.
it is important to note, particularly as pertains to items not intended for consumption, or use on the mouth, that gluten is not absorbed through the skin. This means that even if you are aging parent touches something with gluten on it, or uses a lotion, hair care product, sunscreen, or other item containing gluten, it will not cause symptoms. The problem with this type of hidden gluten, however, lies in the risk of contact with items that are consumed, or that end up on the mouth. For example, lip balm is not intended to be eaten, but gets into the mouth and is swallowed through licking the lips, chewing on the lips, or eating. Seniors with cognitive functioning decline and may also have a higher risk of consuming items with hidden gluten, which can lead to symptoms.
Being a family caregiver for your aging parents can be one of the most fulfilling and meaningful decisions you can make. It can also be one of the most challenging and potentially overwhelming experiences you can have. Meeting the needs of an elderly adult, particularly one who is living with major challenges or health problems, while also juggling other needs such as caring for your children, maintaining your career, and taking care of your house, can lead to stress, diminished health and well-being, and the feeling that you have more to do than time and effort to do it. Fortunately, home care can help. Adding a care provider to your care routine is a fantastic way to fill care gaps, ensure your parent’s needs are fulfilled in the ways that are right for them, and relieve your stress. This supports a better quality of life for both of you throughout their later years.
If you or someone you know needs caregiver services in Fairmont, MN, contact Prairie River Home Care. We provide quality and affordable home care services for many fragile or senior members in the communities we serve. Call us at (888) 660-5772 for more information.