Fast Safely with Seniors During Yom Kippur

Fasting on Yom Kippur is an essential part of the High Holy Days for many Jewish individuals. It is the quintessential way to cleanse the body and reflect on one’s sins.

For many seniors, however, fasting for a day isn’t as simple as it once was. Medical concerns can make fasting a questionable activity for seniors. But after decades of the following tradition on Yom Kippur, it’s difficult to skip out on a year. It may leave you wondering: are there ways to fast safely with seniors during Yom Kippur?

Fast Safely with Seniors During Yom Kippur

Is it safe for seniors to fast?

Before you make any decisions about whether or not you should fast this year, you must speak with your primary physician. There are certain medications and conditions that require you to eat throughout the day. Some conditions may include:

  • Diabetes
  • Chronic pain
  • Dizziness
  • Hypertension

Your health always comes first. If your doctor identifies that it is unsafe to not eat or drink for a full day, they can help you determine a healthy minimum of consumption during Yom Kippur.

Fasting safely with seniors during Yom Kippur

Whether you are fasting on a modified plan or not, there are certain things you can do to have a better fasting experience. The key is preparation. In the days or even weeks leading up to Yom Kippur, take these steps to ensure a more manageable holiday.

Seniors can fast safely on Yom Kippur with these tips

  • Slowly decrease your food intake.  It’s difficult for anyone to go from 0 to 100 (or in this case, 100 to 0). So, make the lack of food easier by slowly decreasing how much you eat, and when you eat, in the days leading up to Yom Kippur. Also ensure you eat quality foods, such as light protein and carbohydrates that will keep you fuller, longer.
  • Stay hydrated. Drinking a bottle of water right before the fast won’t be enough to keep you hydrated. Ensure you drink plenty of water (not sugary drinks!) in the days before, so your body will stay hydrated for longer.
  • Decrease your caffeine intake. For avid coffee drinkers, caffeine withdrawal is one of the worst parts of Yom Kippur. Avoid the exhaustion, headaches, and irritability that comes with caffeine withdrawal by weaning off coffee for a few days, or weeks, ahead of the fast.
  • Do not overexert yourself on Yom Kippur. You feel hungriest after heavy exercise or work around the home. So, leave those chores for the day after Yom Kippur and instead conserve your energy.

Home caregivers can help you fast safely

If you have to modify your fasting and are concerned about the little food you can consume, your in-home caregiver can help. They can prepare healthy, filling foods for you, so all you have to do is focus on the high holy days.

At Home Care Powered by AUAF, our caregivers can take care of whatever activities of daily living you need assistance with. Call us at 773-274-9262 to learn more.

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