It's a subject not many want to talk about, but an important one to address considering many seniors suffer from constipation. Our Bay Area in-home care agency has a few tips to help an aging senior deal with constipation, as it is a condition that can lead to serious consequences if left untreated. One factor that may contribute to constipation in seniors is the medicines they take, along with diet and lack of exercise.
Colon problems such as diverticulitis and IBS can lead to constipation, as can thyroid problems. It's vital to consult with your doctor, who can help develop a plan of treatment if you have less than three bowel movements per week, which is considered constipation according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse.
Whether you are a senior who prepares your own meals or you have a caregiver who helps with your dietary needs and meal preparation, there are certain foods that have proven effective for those with constipation. Some of these include:
Prunes - You probably expected this one, however studies have found that those who eat prunes increase bowel movements about 25% each week over those who take Metamucil, Benefiber, and other fiber supplements.
Bananas - It's important to note that bananas should be ripe, as unripened (green) bananas can actually contribute to constipation. The pectin in ripe bananas helps make bowel movements easier for those who are constipated.
Yogurt and milk products containing probiotics have been found effective for those who suffer from digestive issues, including constipation. Fermented food products often contain probiotics and include sourdough bread, sauerkraut, and even sour pickles. There is also a wide array of probiotic products that can be found over-the-counter, such as Align.
Flax seeds - Flax seeds are rich in magnesium, a mineral that attracts water into the stool, making it easier to have a bowel movement. Studies have proven the benefits of flax seeds, often found in granola bars and breakfast cereals. Flax seeds can also be purchased and used to sprinkle over other foods.
Drinking water - The majority of people who become constipated think of foods and prescription or OTC medications to resolve the problem, however water is hugely important when it comes to a healthy digestive system and regular bowel movements. Drink plenty of water each day to help you stay hydrated and avoid constipation.
If your aging loved one suffers from bouts of constipation it's vital to consider the above foods in the diet, exercise, and most important of all, speaking with his or her healthcare provider.
Care Indeed provides in-home care services to seniors throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, giving families the much-needed help and support you deserve. Our caregivers are trustworthy, background checked, and most important of all, compassionate and caring. Give us a call today!
Home care is derived from the belief that older adults should be able to age at home with the level of care they need to be safe and comfortable.