Coffee is one of the world’s time-honoured drinks. Originating from the highlands of Ethiopia, coffee drinking has become part of everyday life and as many people around you know, nobody can power through the day without at least one sip. For seniors, drinking a cuppa could require a different approach.
When it comes to getting your espresso dose, you have three choices each with their own pros and cons:
- Instant. It is basically the coffee beans that have been brewed and processed into powder form, then packaged into either jars, foil sachets, or large packs, the latter possibly put in a maker. Many people may claim this form was already evident seeing their parents prepare it every morning growing up.
However, while instant may be a solution for people on the go, the lengthy process that resulted in its granular form also leads to it having a flat taste that is often supplanted by creamer or sugar. It may even come in varying caffeine levels, forcing you to spend more money on which product has the best caffeine kick for you.
- Ground. It is the coffee beans or cherries that have been crushed to certain levels of powdered form. The grinding and the minuteness of the powder will often depend on the apparatus you use and may require some knowledge of barista work. Coarse ground coffee, which looks like kosher sea salt, would require crushing them through a French press or percolator. On the far side, fine ground is more powdery than sugar or table salt, and are mostly used on espresso makers or moka pots, while Turkish-style ground is as consistent as flour.
Some experts claim that ground coffee has more caffeine than instant, the brewing time is longer, with up to several minutes even when applying hot water off a boiling pot.
- Filtered. It mostly involves the processed coffee powder packaged into small bags. These will have “hanging ears” to set up the bag into the mouth of a cup or glass, and the water will be poured into the bag; the heat would gradually break down the material for release into the cup/glass chamber. Like instant, filtered will have varying levels of acidity and caffeine content, which will be identified in each bag’s product label.
Filter coffee has the advantage of having bags of spent grounds easily stored away as fertiliser for your plants, in addition to fuller flavour than instant. However, filling up the bag to the brim while it is mounted on the cup poses the challenge of tempering the right amount of coffee against water.
Benefits of drinking a cuppa
Coffee drinking can have an array of benefits possible for the elderly, but only if they are taken in moderation and counterbalanced by sufficient water.
- Lower risk of lifestyle disease. A simple eight-ounce cup already contains important nutrients such as folate, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, and Vitamins B1, B2, B5, and B3. These will aid the body in lowering the danger of common senior ailments such as gout, stress, and Parkinson’s disease.
A Chinese study of coffee drinkers as compiled in the UK BioBank established that based on daily consumption of between 1.5 to 3.5 cups a day, taking unsweetened drinks reduced the odds of dying between 16 to 21 percent; 29 to 31 percent for drinkers with sugar sweeteners. A late 2022 study in Portugal marked drinking a cuppa as helping people who are obese and diagnosed with Type II diabetes lower the odds of contracting severe nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, but it must be combined with a balanced diet, little alcohol consumption, and no smoking.
- Antioxidants. Coffee already contains a number of antioxidants that provide benefits such as protection from cellular degeneration and premature ageing, while reducing the danger of oxidised cells.
- Reinforcing brain functions. Coffee has nutrients that protect the brain from inflammation that leads to the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, especially in arresting the buildup of proteins that contribute to cognitive decline. Some studies have established a possible link between caffeine and building more long-term memory, with results pointing at 65 percent lower risk of dementia at the age of 70. However, getting there may have to start during midlife to better prepare the brain for the possible decline upon reaching later years.
- Maintaining vision. A caffeine fix may aid in protecting the eyes and vision. A Japanese study found that intake of between two to six cups of coffee a day stimulates the tear glands and prevents dry eye. However, excessive drinking may lead to glaucoma.
- Reduced cravings. A number of studies have established caffeine as a possible tool for suppressing appetites through natural chemicals present in coffee beans (and other fruits) called chlorogenic acids. These are touted to help the body burn more fat and drinking a cup prior to a meal may induce a lower drive to eat more at the next meal.
One idea to spark up positive feelings amongst seniors would be to go out on a coffee date together. Although such a thing is usually reserved for young couples meeting for the first time, seniors like married couples can take the advantage of this to reaffirm ties without the hassle and expense of a real date. A noted dating website’s study of dating seniors claimed that in a pool of 1,000 respondents, 43 percent preferred a coffee date over dinner and when broken down by age groups, people between 54 and 64 years old were 39 percent more leaning toward coffee dates than the 25 to 34 age group.
To make a seniors’ coffee date a success, some may suggest researching coffee places in the local community that carry their own themes then book a reservation, instead of going out to the nearest chain outlets.
It’s fine to have a cuppa Joe every now and then. Seniors having their fix can be another moment of earning peace and quiet in their later years.
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To cater to the growing population of Australian seniors, many cafes and restaurants have begun offering specialised coffee menus and events. Some cafes even offer senior-specific deals and events, such as early bird specials and bingo mornings.
This not only provides an opportunity for seniors to enjoy their favourite beverage but also fosters a sense of community and belonging. Furthermore, with many seniors living on a fixed income, having affordable and accessible social activities like coffee catch-ups can greatly improve their quality of life.
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