Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate: Dr. Cynthia Speaks!

Dr. Cynthia J. Hickman
2 min readJan 27, 2023

Topic: Nutritional Habits Matters As We Age

Dr. Cynthia J. Hickman, Ph.., RN., MSN/Ed.

Healthy eating for seniors can help with illness and disease and better management of chronic health problems. To help older adults accomplish health benefits that align with proper eating, certain food groups should be avoided.

Here Goes!

As you know, starchy foods are our primary supplier of carbohydrates and have an important role in a wholesome diet. However, processed foods, you know those starchy, high-fat, high-calorie meals, are known for little nutritional value. These are the causes of weight gain and consuming empty calories. But if you focus on high fiber and complex carbohydrates, your meals will be nutritious. A person with diabetes or high blood sugar may want to keep an eye on their intake of starchy foods. Individuals with these conditions are more sensitive to blood sugar spikes that naturally accompany consuming carbohydrates. Knowing the types of carbohydrates is a part of your food tool chest. There are three types: (1) sugar, (2) starch, and (3) fiber.

Sugar is the simplest form of carbohydrate and is naturally found in fruits, vegetables, milk, and milk products. Starch is a complex carbohydrate composed of many sugars connected. Starch also is found naturally in vegetables, grains, and cooked dry beans and peas, for instance. Fiber also is a complex carbohydrate found naturally in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and cooked dry beans and peas.

It is always a great idea to consult a nutritionist, especially if you have to manage chronic diseases. Many individuals struggle with proper diet when living with medical conditions. Further, keep in mind, if you are a caregiver of the elderly, be mindful that the digestive system of the elderly may have slowed down. Small meals across the day may be of benefit over heavy large meals. Fried foods in the diet of the elderly should be eliminated or in small amounts at best.

Sugary drinks, get rid of them! They offer no nutritional value(empty calories). May I briefly mention canned foods which are very high in sodium(salt)? Be careful! Sodium is problematic for those facing heart disease. Sodium has its place as a key mineral that helps the body keep the right amount of fluid in the body( bloodstream). But, when you eat a lot, it raises blood pressure, causes weight gain, and swelling, and makes it harder for your heart to pump effectively. As Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate, I encourage you to seek out nutritional advice and support so you can make healthy meals, especially incorporating healthy carbohydrates for your loved ones. Be safe! Be well!

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Dr. Cynthia J. Hickman

Dr. Hickman is the author of From the Lens of Daughter, Nurse, and Caregiver: A Journey of Duty and Honor and The Black Book of Important for Caregivers.