The Pros and Cons of Coffee for Seniors
For many older adults today, drinking coffee is simply part of their regular routine. However, with the caffeine that comes in coffee there are a lot of questions about whether or not this is something that seniors should be consuming on a regular basis. Overall, coffee is a perfectly healthy drink, in moderation, for all seniors and actually comes with some surprising health benefits. However, just like anything else, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. With this in mind, here are some of the pros and cons of coffee for seniors.
There are some really surprising health benefits that can come with drinking coffee. They can include the following perks.
- Moderate coffee consumption can actually enhance neurological functioning along with mood, memory, energy and reaction time. This is something that most seniors can benefit from.
- Coffee consumption lowers the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Numerous studies on coffee drinkers and diabetes have found that those who drink one or two cups of coffee per day have a significantly lower chance of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Coffee can help with liver function. If you want increased liver protection, then drink coffee regularly. Drinking plain, black coffee can actually reduce your senior loved one’s chances of getting cirrhosis by 80 percent.
- Regular coffee consumption can actually lessen an individual’s chances of getting Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease by as much as 65 percent.
There are only a few “cons” of drinking coffee for seniors, but they are worth noting.
- Drinking too much coffee or caffeine can dehydrate seniors who are already susceptible to dehydration as it is. If your loved one drinks lots of coffee make sure that they also drink lots of water along with it.
- Too much caffeine can mess up your loved one’s sleep schedule. A set sleep schedule is very important for seniors, and you need to try to keep your loved one on this schedule every day. Caffeine, especially in the afternoon can disrupt this.
- It can burn your loved one. Many seniors, especially those with dementia, actually have issues with burning themselves on hot coffee. It is easy to spill and easy to take a sip of coffee that is piping hot. If your loved one has severe dementia, has bad arthritis or shaking hands or tends to spill, make sure to watch them closely while they drink coffee.
The good news about many of these “cons” is they can be remedied by switching your loved one to decaf. Keep these “pros” and “cons” in mind as you continue to care for your loved one so you can make sure they are getting just the right amount of coffee in their diet.
- Kimberly Langdon M.D. is a retired, board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist with 19-years of clinical experience. She graduated from The Ohio State University College of Medicine earning Honors in many rotations. She then completed her OB/GYN residency program at The Ohio State University Medical Center, earning first-place for her senior research project and placed in the 98th percentile on the national exam for OB/GYN residents in the U.S..
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