In theory, it’s fairly simple to avoid constipation and stay regular. Eating right, drinking plenty of fluids, and engaging in regular exercise can prevent a great deal of constipation. Of course, these are easier said than done for many older adults. Medical conditions often make it difficult for seniors to get to the store, prepare healthy meals or exercise due to memory loss, pain, balance impairment, fatigue, limited vision or reduced strength and dexterity in the hands.
Enjoying regular bowel habits is extremely important to seniors’ comfort, health and well-being. Constipation can lead to debilitating conditions including:
Severe abdominal pain, leading to emergency room visits or hospitalizations
- Painful, bleeding hemorrhoids
- Increased irritability
- Agitated or aggressive behavior in seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia
- Delirium (acute increased confusion)
- Reduced appetite
Request a Medication Review
Ask the doctor or pharmacist to review all the prescription and over-the-counter medications the senior takes to see which may be contributing to constipation, and whether they can recommend an alternative.
Eat Plenty of Fiber
High fiber foods are essential to good bowel function. Eat plenty of foods like fruits, vegetables, beans and prunes. Gradually increase fiber intake to reduce risk of bloating and discomfort.
Drink Lots of Water
Fiber doesn’t work well without plenty of fluids. Older adults very often don’t take in enough fluids. They don’t feel thirsty until dehydrated, so waiting until they are thirsty is a mistake. It’s important that they drink throughout the day, even when they don’t feel thirsty, to keep regular and avoid other problems related to dehydration.
Physical activity is known to promote healthy bowel regularity. Develop a routine that includes activity and physical exercise daily. A daily walk before breakfast or after dinner works well for many.
Ask for Help
Constipation is common, but it isn’t a “normal” part of aging. Don’t be embarrassed or afraid to talk to your doctor. Reach out to senior care for help when the challenges of aging are interfering with your health and wellbeing. Senior care aides can go a long way toward helping a senior eat right, drink adequately and get exercise.
Some common ways elder care aides help seniors stay regular include:
Transportation / Shopping Support
Senior care aides can help with shopping, either by taking the senior to the store (which can be a good source of exercise!) or running there on their behalf. They can help the senior find nutritious foods and enticing drinks, and then carry the shopping bags and ensure they get home safely.
Meal Preparation / Reminders
Senior care aides can help cook healthy meals to have on hand. They can also provide reminders or encouragement to eat meals, drink fluids or have snacks.
Senior care services are tailored to each individual senior’s unique needs and preferences, and so look different for everyone. Talk to our senior care agency today to discuss what your senior’s wellness plan might look like.
If you or a loved one are considering Senior Care Services near Ephrata PA, contact the caring staff at Extended Family Care of Lancaster. Call today at (717) 205-2174.
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