Jan 31, 2018 by Comfort Keepers Newark, DE
Being a caregiver exposes you to many digestives issues, some of which may be more familiar than others.
One of the most common digestion problems is constipation. Its likelihood naturally increases as we age, but it can also be caused by a number of things. If you care for a loved one with chronic constipation, here’s what you need to know:
Constipation is a condition in which a person has a difficult time emptying their bowels, or defecating. The medical definition is having less than 3 bowel movements (or BMs) a week.
It’s not the most luxurious topic to talk about, but it definitely affects a lot of people – in fact, over 42 million Americans.
As with all things, the lifestyle a person lives can greatly affect the quality and frequency of their BMs.
Seniors, unfortunately, tend to have a lifestyle that is conducive to constipation. The traits that contribute to the condition are:
Even antacids and certain vitamin supplements can lead to constipation.
Treatment of constipation at the start is usually very subtle, in hopes that the condition will naturally resolve on its own. For example, the healthcare provider usually recommends increasing water and fiber intake to help increase BM movements. Light exercise may also be recommended, as it works to encourage muscle movement in the bowels.
The patient’s medical conditions and medications/supplements taken will also be looked at to solve any underlying issues that may be inadvertently causing the constipation.
If necessary, certain medications, laxatives, or stool softeners may be given to the patient to help relieve them of the constipation.
Many complications can occur if the constipation is not relieved. Some of these include:
If your senior is having problems with constipation, try the diet and exercise tip to see if it will help them. If not, get them in to see their doctor.