Is Coffee Safe for My Parent?

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Remember when coffee was good for you? Remember when coffee was considered unhealthy? Remember when coffee’s health benefits were touted?

You’ve probably lived through times when all of these occurred. Experts are still divided on the effects of coffee and its stimulant drug, caffeine.

But what you want to know is…

Is Coffee Safe for My Parent?

The answer is probably. As with almost anything, it depends on your parent’s health and their sensitivity to caffeine.

Older adults frequently become more sensitive to caffeine, even if they’ve been drinking coffee all their lives. Their 2-cup-a-day habit may result in effects more consistent with 3 or 4 cups as their body metabolizes caffeine differently.

Factors to consider when determining the safety of coffee:

Sleep. Caffeine has been shown to disturb sleep, and older adults are more likely to experience sleep disturbances. Suggest they drink their last cup at least 6 hours before bedtime and see if that helps their sleep.

Tremors. As people get older, they become more sensitive to caffeine. If your parent gets the “java jitters”, it may be time to cut down or switch to decaf.

Anxiety. Caffeine affects adrenaline, which can increase anxiety. If you notice your parent’s anxiety level rising, investigate their coffee intake.

Dehydration. Caffeine stimulates the kidneys and increases urination. Dehydration is an issue for older adults, because the amount of water in the body decreases by approximately 15% between ages 20 and 80, the sensation of thirst diminishes with age, and the kidneys are less able to concentrate urine and retain water.

Osteoporosis. Coffee causes increased excretion of calcium in the urine, which may worsen osteoporosis.

Medication. Caffeine interacts with certain medications.

Is Coffee Healthy for My Parent?

On the other hand, coffee can help prevent certain diseases. For example,

Coffee reduces diabetes risk. A review of several studies found that people who drank 4 to 6 cups of coffee, whether caffeinated or not, reduced their risk for Type 2 diabetes by almost 30%. The risk decreased by 35% for those who drank more than 6 cups a day.

The caffeine in coffee may protect against dementia, according to research. Other studies show improvements in memory and cognition. The number of cups proven effective ranges from 3 to 5.

Caffeine may lower the risk of Parkinson’s. Coffee drinkers may lower their risk of developing Parkinson’s by 30 to 60%, according to several studies.

Coffee may lower the risk of liver and colorectal cancer. One study found that an increase in consumption of 2 cups of coffee per day was associated with a 43% reduced risk of liver cancer. Another study showed that 4-5 cups of coffee per day lowered the risk of colorectal cancer by 15%.

Caffeinated coffee may reduce the risk of developing gallbladder disease or gallstones by as much as 45% in men and 28% in women.

Judge for Yourself

You and your parent must judge for yourselves whether the benefits of coffee and caffeine outweigh any disadvantages. Consult with your doctor before increasing caffeine intake.

Take a Moment

If you are a caregiver for your parent or an older adult, please take a moment to see if any of these informative articles can improve your life.

At The Arbors Assisted Living Residential Communities, we believe in creating an engaging, stimulating environment that benefits the mind, body and spirit of our residents. We promote a lifestyle of health and wellness, with programs that benefit brain health, physical fitness and more.

 

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