Constipation issues can be very frustrating and uncomfortable for seniors and difficult for family members and caregivers when they experience feelings of helplessness on how to help them find relief.
Constipation is a common complaint and challenge, effecting approximately 33 million adults in the United States and making up 2.5 million physician visits and 92,000 hospitalizations each year for the ailment alone.
Constipation issues tend to increase with age; in individuals 65 years of age or older, the prevalence is 26% for women and 16% for men, which goes up to 34% for women and 26% for men at age 84 and above.
The clinical diagnosis of constipation relies on symptoms of incomplete or difficulty in the elimination of stool, with patients normally experiencing hard stools or pain, bloating, and distention of the abdomen which can be caused by a number of things including medication use, chronic disease processes, and psychosocial issues.
What you can do at home
Fortunately, home care services provide support for your loved one and are trained to assist with things such as constipation in the elderly and they will know how to help.
Some things that can be done in the comfort of your parent’s home are:
Increase their fiber intake. Caregivers can make an effort to add fiber from fruits and vegetables to your senior’s diet which will allow stool to pass quicker and more easily through the intestines.
Get physical. Their home care services aide can encourage them to exercise most days of the week, if their mobility and cognitive function allows. Physical activity can increase muscle activity in your intestines and get things moving!
Hydrate. While drinking more fluids isn’t going to cure constipation alone, being sure that your senior stays hydrated can help keep their stools soft and easier to pass.
Set a schedule. You can set a daily timer or have your parent’s caregiver encourage them to try and use the restroom at regular intervals to prevent the build-up of stool. Never let your loved one receiving home care services ignore the urge to have a bowel movement.
Supplements. There are a number of over the counter medications such as stool softeners, laxatives, fiber supplements, enemas, and suppositories that your senior’s doctor may recommend trying at home before prescribing medications.
Most seniors with chronic constipation, which is characterized by having symptoms for at least three months, will eventually require a laxative to relieve their discomfort.
Seeking Professional Help
If remedies attempted are not resolving your senior’s constipation issues, you should talk to their doctor who can discuss the prescription medications that are available, as well as the risks and side effects associated with each one.
For Home Care Services in Bartlett TN, please contact the caring staff at Personal Care Services MidSouth today!