For Andrews of Summerside resident Kaye Ferguson, the hardest part about being diagnosed with Celiac disease was finding foods she could eat that she enjoyed.
“It’s very annoying to think you can’t just eat what you want when you want,” she said.
Kaye first discovered she had Celiac disease four years ago after experiencing repeated bouts of digestive distress. Since then, with the advice of her doctor, she’s realigned her diet to cut out gluten. While her symptoms have improved, it’s been no small task educating herself on nutrition, diet and gluten-free food options.
“When I was living alone I just kind of tried this and tried doing that to get it so it so that I was eating right,” she said.
Now, with the addition of a registered dietitian to the Andrews Senior Care team, navigating her new diet is about to get much simpler.
Hamid Ferdowsi joined Andrews in January after spending more than 25 years working as a dietitian specializing in senior care. He said Kaye’s experience is not uncommon, adding the most important factor in leading a healthy life, especially as a senior, is education.
“Education is the key point,” he said. “Many people, when you give them the right education, they will be healthier.”
Hamid said this not only applies to people with Celiac disease, but people with diabetes, heart disease or even those following a specific weight maintenance diet. For instance, one issue he’s seen repeatedly over his career is residents struggling with weight loss after moving from their home for the first time. In these cases, the weight loss is generally psychological and can be fixed by sitting down with a registered dietitian, finding out about the resident’s preferred eating habits and helping adjust their diet accordingly.
“It’s a big change for them and it can affect their eating habits, their appetite,” he said, adding the more food literate someone is, the more they’re able to take control of their health.
Hamid will be available for consultations with residents as well as the nursing and dietary teams at our Andrews and ProTem homes to offer guidance with any diet-related issues. Likewise, he will offer regular education sessions for team members on best practices, current diet information and safe feeding guidelines for residents in long-term care who may need assistance eating.
“Following a healthy diet, being physically active and keeping a healthy body weight can help us stay happy, mobile and independent,” he said.
Which aligns perfectly with the Andrews motto of redefining senior care, said Mizan Uddin, general manager of Andrews Senior Care.
“We are thrilled to have Hamid on our team,” he said. “Our goal at Andrews is to help our residents live happy, healthy and to be as independent as they want to be. Hamid will be an excellent resource for our residents and their families.”