As the aging and elderly population continues to grow, many adult children are struggling to cope with the health complications associated with caring for an aging parent. One area of growing concern is the management of a healthy diet while working to avoid adverse health complications so commonly associated with age. From bowel and bladder dysfunction to dementia, the diet of your aging parent can significantly alter, or damage, their health later in life.
One such concern among adult children who care for their aging parents, is discerning between food intolerance and food allergies. As a general rule, food allergies produce a response in the body that results in the release of histamine, with symptoms such as runny nose and the development of a rash while, in contrast, food intolerance can lead to a whole plethora of complications, often misdiagnosed as a food allergy by the healthcare professional.
As the adult child caring for an aging parent, you should be familiar with the symptoms of food intolerance that will, undoubtedly, appear in your aged parent as they grow older. Symptoms of food intolerance commonly appear as abdominal pain, diarrhea, migraine headache pain, asthma with complicated breathing, and persistent coughing especially in the evening.
Without proper diagnosis, your elderly parent, suffering with food intolerance, may further exacerbate complications such as depression, arthritis and even skin disorders such as eczema.
To manage the food intolerance in your aging parent, and to alleviate the symptoms associated with it, it is important to keep a food journal. Within the food journal, write down every food item your parent has eaten and the time of day it was consumed. Be certain to also include any liquid products as well as any medications, both prescribed an over-the-counter.
As you make entries into the food journal, be certain to also document any activity associated with behavior as well as changes in your aging parent’s emotional and physical health. After several weeks of managing a food journal, you may be very surprised to find that your parent is suffering from a food intolerance that has been misdiagnosed for many years.
As the number of households caring for aging parents continues to grow in the United States, many adult children are assuming a dynamic spectrum of responsibilities. With food intolerance as a key complication among aging parents, managing and maintaining a food journal may be one way in which to effectively determine what foods, liquids or medications may be adversely affecting your parent’s health, ultimately leading to one less complication to worry about.