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7 Tips for Managing Celiac Disease in the Elderly

Celiac disease can appear suddenly in seniors, despite a lifelong tolerance to gluten. If your aging loved one is experiencing gastrointestinal issues, their doctor may do some blood tests and determine that they have developed celiac disease. In that event, you’ll have to adjust your elderly care plan to allow for a strict gluten-free diet.

Elderly Care in Springfield VA: Tips for Managing Celiac Disease

Elderly Care in Springfield VA: Tips for Managing Celiac Disease

Gluten is found in certain grains like wheat, barley, rye and spelt. This means that in order for the symptoms to go away in your aging loved one, they cannot eat food with gluten in it. Like any strict diet for a health condition, celiac disease can be managed quite well when the elderly person, their caregivers and anyone else is aware of the restriction on gluten. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy, but there are several things that you and your elderly loved one can do to ease the transition to a gluten-free life.


  1. Learn what foods contain gluten and decide to avoid them at all costs. The most commonly identified foods with gluten are baked goods and pasta, because of the wheat flour. You’ll have to either use acceptable substitutes, like rice noodles, or choose meals without them.
  2. Identify less common foods that usually contain gluten, such as canned soups, ketchup, salad dressings, sausage, gravy, marinade, hot dogs, pudding, syrup and more. You and your elderly loved one will have to read labels to determine whether gluten is present.
  3. Look at non-food items with gluten that can trigger problems if your elderly loved one is sensitive enough. Examples include medications, vitamins, supplements, shampoo, cosmetics, lipstick, and even adhesive stamps and envelopes.
  4. Figure out which ingredients also mean gluten is inside with complicated words like dextrin, maltodextrin, triticum aestivum, hydrolysate, modified food starch and caramel color.
  5. When at restaurants, look on the menu or ask the staff for gluten-free options. While these were hard to find just a few years ago, there are many places that now cater to those who follow a gluten-free diet.
  6. Take gluten-free snacks to family events, parties, community center potlucks and any event where your elderly loved one may need to avoid food with gluten but you don’t know if there will be any gluten-free options.
  7. Use online recipes and cookbooks that are created by gluten-free experts to ensure that there are plenty of delicious and nutritious meals on hand. Seniors will be less likely to break their special diet if they are getting good meals and filling snacks that are free of gluten.


Because adhering to a strict diet for life is such a difficult thing to do, your aging loved one is going to need all the support they can get. This means that anyone involved in their elderly care plan needs to join in and do what they can to ensure that your aging loved one has plenty of gluten-free options and is not often put in a situation where they don’t have something appropriate to eat.

If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in Springfield, VA, call the caring staff at Medical Professionals On Call today. 703-273-8818



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Michelle DeFilippis

I graduated with a BS degree and had been selling medical equipment to hospitals, clinics and technicians. More recently, a family member was diagnosed with dementia and we, as a family, realized we were not prepared t care for her. We were thrown into that whirlpool of hospital stays, 24/7 live-in care, skilled care, caring for mom ourselves and finally, now daily home care. This was such a stressful time that I started thinking there had to be other people, other families as overwhelmed and unprepared as we were.

Medical Professionals On Call has such a caring, professional staff who are available to step in with whatever level of care necessary for loved ones and to relieve you of that stress.