Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a chronic condition that has no cure. Seniors suffering from IBS experience abdominal cramps and pain, constipation, diarrhea, gas, and a bloated feeling. The disease can be a difficult one to live with, but there are things senior care providers and family caregivers can do to help seniors cope with IBS. Here are some tips for caring for a senior parent with IBS.
Know and Manage Triggers
If you are uncertain what triggers your parent’s IBS symptoms, it’s a good idea to start a notebook for tracking foods eaten and symptoms. This way you can become familiar with your parent’s trigger foods and avoid them in the future. Situations and conditions can also trigger IBS symptoms, so when your parent has symptoms, note what they were doing immediately before the symptoms began. Also note medications taken and how your parent was feeling. Be certain that all family caregivers and senior care providers know about the notebook and how to record information. Share the notebook with your parent’s doctor so that they can assist you in determining your parent’s triggers.
Offer Several Smaller Meals
For some people with IBS, eating smaller meals more frequently instead of three larger meals can reduce discomfort. Make certain your parent’s diet is healthy and balanced, while also avoiding trigger foods. It can be useful for family caregivers and senior care providers to set a good example by eating healthy around your parent.
Adjust Fiber Levels
For people with IBS, fiber can be a good thing or a bad thing. It can prevent constipation, but it can also cause gas and bloating. If your parent has problems with constipation, try increasing the amount of fiber they eat slowly over a number of weeks. Foods like beans, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are fiber-rich. Note how the increase in fiber affects your parent’s symptoms. If your parent is bothered by dietary fiber, you can also try limiting the amount of fiber they eat and use a fiber supplement instead.
Drinking lots of water and other liquids can help with IBS symptoms. Drinks that contain alcohol or caffeine should be avoided since they can cause diarrhea. Also, drinks that are carbonated can cause gas. Having a refillable water bottle on hand at all times can help encourage hydration. Senior care providers and family caregivers should monitor the bottle to determine how much the senior is drinking and refill the bottle often.
Be Cautious with Dairy Products
Dairy is difficult for some people to digest. If your parent has difficulty with milk, you can purchase enzyme tablets that help break down lactose. Eating only small amounts of dairy can help, and yogurt can be easier to digest than milk. In some cases, it may be necessary to avoid dairy products altogether.
If you or a family member are in need of senior care in Boca Raton, FL, call the caring professionals at Star Multi Care today at (954) 870-4770. Providing service in Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Weston, Southwest Ranches, Pembroke Pines, Cooper City, Lighthouse Point, and Wilton Manors.