Seniors often have a plethora of health problems. From chronic illnesses like high blood pressure to memory loss from Alzheimer's disease, there is a lot to deal with. Older people also experience normal aches and pains. Along with these issues come digestion troubles. Read on to learn ways to ease your digestive processes so you can focus on what matters:
Talk to your doctor
Because slowed digestion is a symptom of being a senior, many people don't seek medical help. This is unfortunate as your doctor may be able to offer advice. For example, if you experience frequent constipation, your physician may recommend eating more fiber or taking a laxative. Some of the most common side effects for medications that seniors often take are constipation, diarrhea and nausea. Your doctor might be able to alter any prescriptions you're taking to reduce the likelihood of these side effects while still treating your original symptoms. If this isn't the case, the physician can share tips on over-the-counter drugs that may lessen your digestive troubles.
When thinking about digestion, many people only consider their diets. In reality, how much water you drink also plays a major part. Being hydrated means replacing the water you typically lose during the day.
"Water plays a major part in digestion."
Water is also responsible for lubricating your joints and eyes, and not having enough can cause muscle cramps and headaches. Ask your physician how many ounces of water he or she recommends for someone of your age and health. If your assisted living community offers access to a nutritionist, he or she may also have advice on staying hydrated to ease digestive issues.
Plenty of older people wish they had more regular bathroom habits as this is seen as a sign of good health. The key to maintaining a similar schedule every day is to eat at the same time. Don't repeat your exact meal content each day, but instead try to sit down to every meal (and enjoy snacks) within a half an hour of the time you did so yesterday. Your body will get used to this timely process and make digestion a breeze.
Vary your diet
In order to have a healthy digestive system, you must eat a lot of different foods. While it can be tempting to reach for the same items in the dining room day after day, you can miss out on essential nutrients by not branching out. Try to eat a serving of fruits and vegetables, protein and carbohydrates at every mealtime. You can enjoy leftovers until they're gone, but then move on to something different.
When your body is active, so is your digestive system. Consider taking a walk after each meal to kick-start your metabolism and encourage your intestines to start moving along waste. You may find this simple daily adjustment to your routine can make your bathroom habits much easier and quicker. You'll also be less likely to overeat because it's no fun to go on a walk when you're super full.