5 Ways to Help Aging Adults Who Have Chronic Constipation

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Chronic constipation in the elderly is common, since many medications and digestive disorders can cause it to develop. While most people focus on the discomfort caused by constipation, your loved one may also experience other ill effects, such as malnutrition, if he or she is too uncomfortable to eat. You can use these tips to alleviate your loved one’s condition.

1. Avoid Serving Certain Foods

Certain foods are known to cause constipation. For instance, rice, starchy bread, and cheese are all known to cause mild constipation, and it can be worse for older adults. Try to avoid giving your loved one these foods. Instead, provide food that has a lot of fiber, such as whole grains and fruits and vegetables.

If your loved one needs help adopting and maintaining a diet that prevents constipation, consider enlisting the help of a professional caregiver. When considering at-home care, Fort Myers, FL, families should make sure their senior loved ones have the resources they need to maintain their independence and remain healthy. Trusted in-home care professionals can assist seniors with daily tasks like cooking, bathing, and exercise, and they can also encourage them to focus on healthier lifestyle habits.

2. Encourage Frequent Exercise

Your loved one needs to move his or her body to keep all its systems functioning, and regular exercise is great for stimulating the digestive and excretory systems. Help your loved one find an exercise routine that provides just the right level of exertion. Keep in mind this may require assistance from a caregiver to maintain balance. Ideally, your loved one should exercise at least three to five times a week for around 20 minutes at a time, but some seniors need to work up to this amount. 

If you usually help your loved one exercise but need a break now and then, consider having a professional caregiver take over for you. Fort Myers respite care professionals can assist seniors with a wide array of daily tasks, offering family caregivers the chance to focus on other personal responsibilities or take a break to prevent burnout. Whether it’s for a few hours a day or a few days a week, respite care is the perfect solution for family caregivers who are feeling overwhelmed.

3. Eliminate Barriers to Using the Bathroom

Your loved one may have started trying to hold his or her bowel movements due to feeling anxious about using the restroom for some reason. For instance, your loved one may be afraid of falling in the bathroom, and installing grab bars or having someone stand outside the door could give him or her confidence. Alternatively, your loved one may have hemorrhoids that make it painful to use the restroom. Talk to your loved one about his or her fears. If necessary, schedule a checkup to find out if your loved one needs treatment for a condition that affects bowel movements.

4. Promote Relaxation

Stress can also play a role in constipation. If your loved one has anxiety or worries a lot during the day, it could cause his or her bodily functions to stall. Find some relaxing rituals your loved one can do throughout the day and try to do a few before his or her regular bathroom breaks. Playing soft music, taking a warm bath, or reading a book can take your loved one’s mind off his or her worries while preparing to use the bathroom.

5. Discuss Fiber and Laxative Options with the Physician

Fiber supplements and laxatives are options that can help with constipation. However, you need to be careful not to make the problem worse or interfere with other health conditions, since a laxative could affect how other medications are absorbed. Always talk to your loved one’s doctor if natural methods for easing constipation don’t work at first to find an appropriate treatment that brings your loved one relief.

Some aging adults may need help making lifestyle adjustments that keep their digestive systems healthy. In Fort Myers, elderly home care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy. We will work with you to create a customized home care plan that’s suited for your loved one’s unique needs. Call the Home Care Assistance team at 239.449.4701 today.