When Janet Splitter, PhD and registered dietitian, speaks at the next Parkinson’s Support Group meeting, she hopes her information will be especially helpful to the caregivers in the room.
The meeting is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 24 in the St. Dominic Room at St. Rose Ambulatory & Surgery Center. It is free and open to anyone who wants to learn more about Parkinson’s disease.
“Caregivers face a lot of stress and need to take care of themselves,” said Splitter, executive director of ElderCare Inc. “One way to do that is eating food that is not only heart healthy but brain healthy too. We will talk about nutrition and how it can help the brain function better.
“After all,” she explained, “if caregivers are not feeling well physically and emotionally they cannot take care of their loved ones with Parkinson’s.”
Splitter’s nutritious suggestions will include fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy. She plans to bring a few samples for tasting to illustrate that a healthy diet can also be a flavorful diet.
“Yes, we can splurge once in a while but an overall healthy diet is crucial not only to Parkinson’s patients but also the people caring for them every day,” Splitter said.
The dietitian will touch on two eating plans – the Mediterranean Diet and the Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH).
“Research shows that a healthy diet can reduce some symptoms of high blood pressure,” she noted.
In addition, Splitter will share some everyday, practical advice such as keeping a grocery list handy and being organized. “We want to offer suggestions that can make life a little easier for patients and their caregivers,” she said.
Part of Splitter’s job at ElderCare, 1819 11th in Great Bend, involves encouraging local and area residents to live healthier lifestyles. The agency provides non-medical in-home care, as well as senior-center meals and home-delivered meals.
“We appreciate this opportunity to collaborate with St. Rose,” Splitter commented. “This is a great partnership and we are excited to share our information with those affected by Parkinson’s.”
St. Rose is part of Centura Health, which connects individuals and families across western Kansas and Colorado with more than 6,000 physicians, 15 hospitals, seven senior-living communities, physician practices and clinics, and home-care and hospice services.