Digestive Health: An Important Health Factor for Aging Adults

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As the body grows older, certain problems inevitably begin to arise. However, very few people understand that many health problems start in the gut. Family members need to pay special attention to digestion when assessing a senior loved one’s health. 

Senior Health & Digestion

The digestive system’s role is to move food through the body while absorbing nutrients and eliminating toxins. As the body ages, this movement becomes difficult and can become even more so when certain medications are taken. If digestion slows or completely stops, constipation can become a debilitating and painful side effect. If left untreated, severe constipation can even lead to sepsis or cancer. 

Recognizing the signs of poor digestive health is the first step toward treating it. Seniors and their caregivers should watch out for bloating, discomfort, constipation, fatigue, and poor elimination. If these symptoms are persistent, it may be time to make some healthy lifestyle changes. 

Seniors who need help boosting their digestive health should consider professional in-home care. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of homecare services. You can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide an individualized care plan to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits, such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.

How to Address Poor Digestion

There are many ways for seniors to enhance their digestive health. First, they should try to stay active, since regular exercise reduces the risk of constipation and colon cancer. Second, seniors need to add fiber to their diets because it soothes diverticulitis symptoms and minimizes constipation. 

Certain medications can also cause digestive issues. Ask a doctor about the impact of prescription medication on digestive function. If any of your loved one’s current prescriptions are harming his or her digestive system, talk to the doctor about alternative treatments. Your loved one may also want to ask the doctor about probiotics, digestive enzymes, and other supplements that can boost gut health. 

There are a number of ways to ease constipation and address bad digestion, either holistically or with medications. Holistic treatment focuses on what your loved one might be lacking nutritionally that’s causing slow digestion. Holistic health treatments may also address mental issues, such as depression, which could be directly linked to constipation and bad digestion. As a way to ease constipation, natural herbal laxatives, such as psyllium husk and senna tea, may be used as long as a physician approves. 

Taking medication is another way digestive problems can be treated in seniors. However, these medicines need to be carefully monitored so the body doesn’t become accustomed to them. This can lead to additional problems and a further slowing of the digestive system. 

Consider hiring a professional caregiver if your loved one needs help maintaining his or her health and wellbeing. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional in-home care. Huntsville, AL, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.

When to Seek Medical Help

If certain digestive problems persist, this could mean something more serious is going on, which is why any form of treatment should always be supervised by a medical professional. It’s also beneficial to get in-home help from a professional caregiver. 

Caring for a loved one with chronic constipation or other digestive issues can be a challenging task. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Huntsville, AL, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity. For more information about our flexible, customizable home care plans, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (256) 716-9940.


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