Caffeine May Help Seniors Avoid Dementia

by Lois Etienne on March 4, 2011

in Alzheimer's and Dementia,Senior Health and Safety

Washington-SeniorI love coffee, but my daughter is always after me to quit drinking it at my age (86).  In fact she thinks my diet isn’t so great, either, since my wife died.  I do the best I can and feel pretty good for an old codger.

As it turns out, the evidence continues to grow showing the benefits of caffeine in fighting Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.  Although caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive drug worldwide and a particular favorite for senior citizens who thrive on coffee, its potential beneficial effect for maintenance of proper brain functioning has only recently begun to be adequately appreciated.  Here’s some interesting findings you can share with your daughter from the report “Therapeutic Opportunities for Caffeine in Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Neurodegenerative Diseases”:

●  Multiple beneficial effects of caffeine to normalize brain function and prevent its degeneration.

●  Caffeine’s neuroprotective profile and its ability to reduce amyloid-beta production (a characteristic of those with Alzheimer’s disease.)

●  Caffeine as a disease-modifying agent for Alzheimer’s disease.

●  Positive impact of caffeine on cognition and memory performance.

●  Studies suggesting that caffeine may be protective against Parkinson’s disease

As far as the rest of your diet goes, that’s something you’ll have to work out with your daughter.  According to a study conducted for the Home Instead Senior Care network, 57 percent of seniors rarely cook for themselves.  And yet, a well-balanced diet is essential to healthy aging.  Seniors whose diets are nutritionally lacking are at increased risk for a variety of health problems.

Have you thought about visiting a local senior center for lunch?  Such facilities offer nutritious meals at an affordable price with a dollop of companionship on the side.  Many older adults don’t realize how much they miss the companionship of dining with others after a spouse has died.  You could find that improves your diet as well.

Or, if you’d like to remain in your home for meals, why not invite over friends or hire a caregiving companion.  CAREGivers for the locally owned office of the Home Instead Senior Care network, for instance, provide errands for shopping, meal preparation and companionship.  And that’s something that your daughter might approve of as well.


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