Constipation in the Elderly
My mother is 93 yrs. young and has been suffering from constipation in the elderly for 7 days, she is on medications for different reasons plus she also take vicodin.
She has severe hemorrhoids and has no results with different laxatives and softeners.
What would you suggest?
REPLY from Caring-for-Aging-Parents.com
Thank you for your question. The first thing I would suggest is a visit to your mother's doctor to review what's going on with her. Specialized medical help is particularly recommended because of the hemorrhoids she has.
Take along all her medications as this can often be a reason for constipation in the elderly.
Other suggestions to help with constipation in the elderly are:
1. Encourage her to walk for 10 minutes every hour. This helps to increase activity in the intestines.
2. Increasing general exercise and physical activity. Try and get your mom to go for a walk with you, either around the block or the building she lives in. Once the constipation has cleared, try to keep her active daily to help prevent further constipation.
3. Massage can be beneficial. To learn the best techniques, you can consult a properly trained massage therapist.
4. Stool softners or laxatives are most useful with a proper recommendation from a doctor.
3. Increasing fiber (along with fluid intake) in the diet. You can't just increase fiber as fluids are needed to move the food along and out of the system. If you just increase fiber, you'll have more problems with constipation.
Some examples of ways to increase your fiber intake are by eating bran, multigrain bread, beans, more servings of fresh fruit per day (5 or more, grapes, raisins, prunes and unsweetened prune juice are particularly good) and vegetables such as asparagus, brussel sprouts, cabbage and carrots.
4. Be careful not to eat to many foods high in fat such as cheese, eggs and meat. When you do eat these types of foods, be sure to pair them with lots of vegetables.
5. Decrease salt intake.
A registered dietician can give you the best advice on the best diet to help with and avoid constipation in the elderly.
For more information, Constipation in the Elderly