Senior Health: Your mom doesn’t drink, yet her doctor said her liver function is off.
She’s been diagnosed with fatty liver disease (steatosis). She would never have known, except her doctor-ordered routine blood tests to check liver function. She doesn’t have symptoms and isn’t sure what to do next for her senior health.
Typically, the liver contains some fat. When that fat increases to the point that it accounts for upwards of 10 percent of the liver’s weight, it strains this essential organ. Your mom needs to make some lifestyle changes before the damage progresses to cirrhosis. These are the things you can help her do.
Ask to Work With a Dietitian
If your mom’s doctor didn’t refer her to a dietitian, request that referral. Insurance may not cover these visits if she doesn’t first get the referral. It’s an excellent question to ask before you make an appointment.
She wants to work with a dietitian, as these professionals are licensed to help after a clinical diagnosis of steatosis and other diseases. If she’s given the name of a nutritionist, make sure the nutritionist is certified by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics or the Clinical Nutrition Certification Board.
If she can’t drive to these appointments, it’s okay. A home care aide offers transportation services, which makes it easy for her to go see her dietitian as much as she needs.
Boost the Exercise
Exercise is important. Your mom needs to increase on what she’s already doing. If she currently walks for half an hour every day, she should increase it to an hour. If she walks and also likes to swim, have her add extra time to her fitness routine.
She wants to try to increase aerobic exercise as much as possible. She likes to dance around the house when she’s cleaning, so why not add a Zumba class to her weekly exercise goals? She could put on a video in her family room and try to follow along as best she can. Have a home care aide help encourage her if needed.
Senior Health: Prepare Healthy Meals
Your mom wants to lose weight and focus on foods that do not have large amounts of saturated fat or added sugar. Her doctor may recommend that she starts following the Mediterranean Diet. It’s a diet that puts more focus on vegetables, seafood, and healthy oils.
There are foods that your mom needs to avoid. Any pasta sauces with added sugar are a terrible idea. Sugary cereals and baked goods, dairy items like sweetened yogurts and ice cream, and even canned soups have added sugar.
If she struggles with food preparation, it’s a good time to look into home care services for her senior health. Caregivers can help her follow her dietitian’s recommended meal plan, shop for ingredients, and prepare healthier meals and snacks.
Home care is easy to arrange. Call an agency and ask to talk to a specialist. You’ll answer questions, get answers to your questions, and learn more about prices.