Constipation is not something that is enjoyable at all. It can leave your elderly family member feeling bloated and uncomfortable while stealing her appetite, which makes the problem worse. As you learn more about managing constipation, you can find solutions that work well for your senior.
Why Is Constipation Happening Now?
There are so many reasons your elderly family member could be experiencing constipation. One of the biggest can involve medication side effects. This might require additional medications that can treat constipation. For other aging adults, reducing their activity levels contributes, as can changes in appetite. If your elderly family member eats a less healthy diet with more processed foods, she might find herself dealing with constipation.
What Qualifies as Constipation?
Constipation, in general, occurs when someone’s bowel movements occur less frequently than usual. Constipation definitely means that your senior’s bowels are moving more slowly than usual, but her stool might also be drier or harder than usual. Your senior’s doctor can help you to determine what constipation for her is. Some people naturally go less often, so skipping a bowel movement might not qualify as constipation for her. In general, though, if your elderly family member is uncomfortable and unable to move her bowels, that’s likely constipation.
Short-term Solutions for Constipation
In the short term, relieving constipation can be as simple sometimes as encouraging your elderly family member to drink a little bit more water or taking a short walk, even around the house. Increasing her activity levels within the bounds recommended by her doctor can help quite a bit. Some people also find that coffee can help to stimulate a bowel movement, especially if the constipation hasn’t been going on for a while.
Long-term Solutions for Constipation
The idea is to help prevent constipation, if possible. Using some short-term solutions more regularly, such as increasing activity levels and water intake, can really help. Your senior’s doctor may also recommend stool softeners or laxatives. Taking probiotics and changing your senior’s diet can also be beneficial. If the problem is severe, your elderly family member’s doctor might recommend prescription medications to resolve her constipation.
If your elderly family member is already prone to constipation, some of the lifestyle changes she’s likely to experience can make the situation worse. It definitely helps to educate yourself as much as possible about constipation so that you can put plans in place to help. Senior care providers can help you to put that plan in motion.