We’d like to be able to tell you that by changing your elderly parent’s diet, you can solve all of their problems with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Unfortunately, if we did that, we’d be lying. People experience IBS symptoms differently, so there isn’t a diet plan that will work for everyone. However, there are some foods that are commonly thought of as triggers for IBS symptoms. Here are some foods to avoid.
In reality, fiber can be either a friend or a foe to someone with IBS. It all depends on whether they experience constipation or diarrhea. Those with constipation may need more fiber, while those with diarrhea need less. Experts say the solution may be to include soluble fiber in the diet of an IBS sufferer with constipation because it can cause less bloating. Foods with soluble fiber are:
- Root vegetables.
The fat in dairy foods can cause diarrhea. Changing to low-fat dairy products might help. Also, people with IBS are often lactose intolerant. Lactose-free alternatives to dairy products are soy milk, almond milk, and soy cheese. If your parent has to eliminate dairy to ease IBS symptoms, they may need a calcium supplement. Talk to their doctor to find out for sure.
Drinks Containing Caffeine.
The caffeine in coffee, soda, or tea can stimulate the intestines and lead to diarrhea. Choose decaffeinated drinks instead. If your parent complains that they miss the energy boost from caffeine, suggest they take a brisk walk or have a snack instead.
Lots of people with IBS are gluten intolerant. Gluten is a kind of protein found in grains like wheat, rye, and barley. If gluten triggers IBS symptoms in your parent, look for gluten-free products.
The gluten in beer and the sugars in wine can be triggers for those with IBS. In addition, alcohol can affect digestion, too. If your parent enjoys a drink now and then, look for gluten-free beer or make mixed drinks with plain seltzer and no sweeteners or sugars.
As a family caregiver to an elderly person with IBS, you may find it helpful to track your parent’s symptoms to determine which foods may be triggers. If you’re not the only caregiver for your parent, make sure everyone is aware of the need to track foods eaten and the results. Caregivers should also all be aware of known triggers so that they are not included in any meals that are prepared for your parent.
If you or an aging loved one are considering caregiver services in Berwyn, PA, contact the caring professionals at Reliant At Home Care today (610) 674-6860.