Jewish Senior Living: Safe Fasting on Yom Kippur

Can your senior loved one fast safely on Yom Kippur? With many seniors taking medications to manage health challenges, fasting can be complex. As the holiday approaches, it’s important to prepare by taking stock of your loved one’s health, talking with a physician, and if necessary planning with your rabbi for a modified fast.

Safe Fasting Starts With Preparation
For seniors, much can change in a year. Let your loved one’s physician know of any changes in health, such as changes in medications, changes in diet, and recent illnesses.

If your loved one is taking any medications – even over the counter – it’s important to talk with your doctor about how to safely manage medications during a fast.

Be sure to ask:

  • Whether medications can be paused safely for a day.
  • If a medication cannot be paused safely, can it be taken without food?
  • Are there any precautions that need to be taken when stopping a medication for a day? Are there any warning signs of trouble?
  • Are there special considerations or timing for stopping medication before a fast and restarting after the fast is complete?

Safe Fasting
On Yom Kippur, be mindful of any changes in your loved one that seem out of the ordinary. While it’s normal to be uncomfortable or irritable while fasting, pain or uncharacteristic changes in behavior can signal a problem that needs attention.

Remember that a loved one who is participating in a modified fast may be emotional about not fasting fully, and offer them support.

Breaking Fast
After a day of fasting, it can be tempting to jump right into a delicious meal! Make sure that medications are ready and in order when it’s time to break fast. Seniors are also more susceptible to dehydration, so be sure to have plenty of water available with the meal, and consider including fresh fruit and vegetables with the break fast meal.

All of us at FountainView wish you an easy, safe, and meaningful fast.

FountainView at College Road is a glatt kosher senior living community in Rockland County, NY.

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