From American Care Manager Monthly Newsletter: Millions of Americans wake up in the morning to a cup of coffee or tea and continue to consume one or the other throughout the day.  Seniors are no exception, especially since they have built up a daily routine over their lifetime which includes coffee and/or tea. As a senior care taker you have to answer one question, is drinking an abundance of coffee and or tea something that seniors should continue?

Recently there has been several studies completed that focused on measuring the effects of coffee and tea on seniors.  The latest study was completed by UCLA and funded by the National Institute of Health; the study included 4,800 men and woman over the age of 65 that were followed for up to 14 years. These seniors were given standard mental assessment tests annually.   The results showed that seniors who regularly drank tea, declined a third less than non-tea or coffee drinkers in mental capacity.  It was only the tea drinkers that showed this progress not coffee drinkers so it could not be attributed to caffeine since tea typically has half the amount of caffeine in a cup as coffee does.

A second study was completed by the University Medical Center in Utrecht located in the Netherlands.  This study included more than 37,500 participants over a period of 13 years.  The findings of this study showed that seniors who drank two to four cups of coffee daily had a 20 percent lower risk of heart disease when compared to those who drank less than two or more than four cups a day.   Those who drank more than six cups of tea a day had a 35 percent lower risk of heart disease compared to those who drank less than one cup a day, and drinking tea three to six cups a day reduced the risk of heart disease by 45 percent.

A third study completed by the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City combined the data from nine earlier studies conducted in Europe, US, and Puerto Rico.  These studies included 3,900 people with cancer of the mouth and pharynx as well as an additional 9000 people without cancer.  This study showed that people who drank coffee had a 12% lower risk of getting cancer than those that didn’t and those that drank more than four cups of coffee a day had a 39% chance of having a lower risk of getting cancer.  There was no indication that tea helped to lower the risk of getting cancer in these studies. In conclusion moderation is king, if seniors are able to drink two to four cups of coffee or tea a day they might be able to actually gain health benefits from it.  Coffee and Tea can be included in a senior person’s diet moderately to help lower the risk of cancer and heart disease.