7 Summertime Eating Tips for Care Partners

It’s summertime, and the livin’ is easy—or at least we’d like it to be. If you’re tired and stressed out from care giving, here are some tips to make mealtime easier, for you and your care partner.

According to the ancient Indian system of Ayurveda our body consists of three main elements or doshas—Vatta, Pitta and Kapha. Pitta consists of water and fire. It’s hot, so during summer when the temperature rises we want to eat cooling foods. Eating cooling foods not only keeps us from overheating, it reduces the tendency to get irritable, impatient and angry.

1)   First and foremost, stay hydrated. It’s especially important to make sure dementia patients are getting enough liquids because they forget to drink and can become dehydrated quickly, which leads to other health problems. It’s also crucial to keep the brain hydrated in order to maintain cognition. Drink plenty of water and stay away from carbonated and caffeinated drinks. Herbal teas, and fresh fruit or vegetable juices are great in summer. Just remember that fruit juices are high in sugar and calories.

2)   Enjoy the bounty of summer fruits and vegetables. The summer fruits such as peaches, apricots, cherries, watermelon, cantaloupe, and berries are especially good for helping the body reduce the fiery heat of summer. According to Ayurveda, some of the recommended summer vegetables include cucumber, green leafy vegetables, green beans, squash, zucchini, asparagus, beets and eggplant.

3)   Sprinkle on the herbs and spices. They’re easy to use and contribute added flavor and antioxidants to your diet. Cooling spices include cardamom, coriander, fennel and tumeric. Cooling herbs include cilantro, mint and dill.

4)   Avoid hot, sour and salty foods including fermented food, red meat, and greasy and spicy food. Excess pitta aggravates the tendency towards heartburn and gastric hyperacidity.

5)   Here’s some good news—Ayurveda recommends ice cream during the hot summer months! So by all means, enjoy! Dementia patients are especially fond of ice cream. If the person you are caring for refuses to eat or eats very little, try serving ice cream. It contains protein, calcium and calories, and it’s easy to serve and eat. If weight gain or cholesterol is a concern, select a dairy-free version of America’s favorite dessert. Rice Cream, Coconut Bliss and Soy Delicious make delicious non-dairy, frozen desserts.

6)   My roses are bursting with fragrance and beauty. Roses are especially cooling and ff you have rose bushes that are free of chemicals, here’s a special treat to make: Rose Petal Jam. It’s fun and easy and the person you are caring for might even like to get into the act. It’s also very cooling and pacifies irritability. Spread it on toast, put a teaspoon on top of a scoop of ice or add it to warm milk for a yummy nightcap. (see recipe below)

7)    Make a lassi using a tablespoon of rose petal jam. Or use this delicious recipe to make the classic, cooling Indian-style milkshake.

Rose Petal Jam


  • 1 cup fresh rose petals (must never have been sprayed with any chemicals)
  •  3/4 cup water
  • 1 lemon, juice of (1/4 cup)
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar or evaporated cane juice crystals
  • 1 package pectin
  • 3/4 cup water






  1. Puree rose petals, 3/4 cup water and lemon juice in blender until smooth.
  2. Slowly add sugar.
  3. Blend till all sugar has dissolved; (leave in blender) Stir 1 package pectin into 3/4 cup water, bring to a boil, and boil hard for 1 minute. Pour mixture into blender with rose petal mixture until well blended.
  4. Do this very quickly – it sets up FAST!! Pour into small, sterilized jelly jars.
  5.  Let set for 6 hours, till firm.
  6. Will keep one month in refrigerator.
  7. Freezes well.

Rose Water Lassi

  • 2 1⁄2 cups plain yogurt

  • 1/2-teaspoon fine sugar

  • ¼ tsp of ground cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons pure rosewater

  • 3⁄4 cups Ice water

  • 1 cup Ice cube cracked

  • Fragrant rose petals for garnish

Blend the yogurt, sugar, cardamom, rose water and iced water in a blender for 2 minutes. Add the ice and process for another 2 minutes. Pour the lassi into tall, refrigerated glasses and garnish with rose petals. Chill out and enjoy!

Dementia Increases Risk of Falls

A friend recently told me that her elderly mother developed dementia after breaking her spine. Dementia is a risk factor for falls and hip fractures in elderly dementia patients. But similar to the question of which comes first the hip fracture or the fall, the question of which comes first dementia or a significant fall is something to consider.

An individual with dementia is up to three times more likely than a cognitively intact older adult to sustain a hip fracture. This might occur due to several reasons including decreased activity, osteoporosis, vitamin D deficiency, smoking, side effects from drugs given to treat dementia, or unsafe environment.

Eight-six percent of hip fractures occur in individuals over the age of 65 years. Dementia prevalence increases exponentially with age, from 3% among those aged 65 to 74 years to 19% among 75 to 84 year olds and 47% in individuals over the age of 85 years.

There is some evidence that a hip fracture can in turn lead to cognitive decline. In one study, 25 of 26 Alzheimer disease patients with hip fracture had the onset of Alzheimer disease after the hip fracture. The researchers theorize that either the hip fracture brought the dementia to clinical attention or that patients who were marginally compensated prior to the event had further cognitive deterioration.

Whether your concern is staving off dementia or reducing risk of bone fractures, make sure your diet includes plenty of antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies for vitamins and the minerals necessary for maintaining healthy bones. Vitamin B complex is vital to supporting cognition, and most Americans, especially vegetarians, are deficient in vitamin B12. So consider supplementing your diet with a B12 nutritional supplement.

7 ways to protect yourself and your loved ones from bone fractures

  1. Protection of the hip with external padding can help in the prevention of hip fracture in individuals with low bone mass or with conditions that make falls inevitable.
  2. Low body weight, secondary to poor appetite or poor health, as opposed to intentional weight loss, has been associated with increased hip fracture risk. Nutritional deficiencies can also play a role in hip fracture risk. Make sure you or your loved one is eating a nutritious diet and getting a minimum of 1500 calories each day.
  3. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with cognitive decline, dementia and bone loss. Michael F. Holick, M.D., PhD., the world’s leading expert on vitamin D says that 200 million Americans are deficient in this essential vitamin. Through Holick’s research we know that every body cell has a receptor for vitamin D, which is why it is so crucial to overall health. Vitamin D is most commonly known for helping the digestive system absorb calcium and phosphorus. In that way it helps the body build and maintain healthy bones. But it does much more. Adequate vitamin D is necessary for reducing the risk for bone disease. Vitamin D is believed to play a role in the reduction of falls, as well as reducing pain, autoimmune diseases, cancer, heart disease, mortality and supporting cognitive function. 
  4. Exercise supports muscle strength, stability and balance, which are all important for preventing falls. If your or your loved one is mobile, implement a regular exercise program, which can be as simple as walking at least 30 minutes three times a week.
  5. Stop smoking—Smoking is a risk factor for both cognitive decline and dementia, with a relative risk of 1.79 for Alzheimer disease and 1.78 for vascular dementia. Smoking also has been shown to increase risk of hip fracture in both women and men.
  6. Reduce or eliminate soft drinks from your diet. Frequent intake of soft drinks and infrequent intake of fruits and vegetables have been associated with low bone mineral density.
  7. And of course, make sure you are getting the recommended daily requirement for calcium, vitamin K, and boron, either through food or supplements.


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