The constipation chronicles

All of those health experts weren’t kidding when they kept saying, “Eat your fiber.”

If you are caring for a senior now, carefully monitor their fiber intake. The typical American diet is woefully deficient in fiber.

My mom actually eats healthier than most people her age. Lots of vegetables, oatmeal, nuts, etc.

Slice of brown bread

But [and pardon if it is TMI] constipation has been the bane of her existence this past year.

And the bane of mine.

Last week was a very busy week, as I’m training someone new at work. I’m working late night weekend shifts at the moment, and of course, there was the time change. I knew I wasn’t going to get much sleep Sunday. I finished work after midnight (which I was already computing in my mind as 1am.) It was after 2am when I went to bed.

Then my phone started buzzing at 5:50am. Mom.

Of course, my heart started pounding as I rushed to answer the phone from a dead sleep.

Mom said her stomach hurt and was bloated. She couldn’t sleep. Yes, she may have skipped her tea (a fiber/stool softener liquid that was prescribed for her) one day.

I told her to take some Milk of Magnesia and tried to go back to sleep.

I’m still convinced there is something else besides old age causing Mom’s irregularity, but it has become a chronic health issue that must be managed aggressively.

Many medications and common health issues can cause constipation, and it can cause a great deal of suffering.

There are many ways to add fiber to the diet, from supplements to naturally high in fiber foods. The key is finding sources of fiber your loved one enjoys (or at least tolerates) on a consistent basis.

How have you dealt with this problem as a caregiver?


Filed under Awareness & Activism

3 responses to “The constipation chronicles

  1. This was a major problem in my mother’s last ten years. She took all the supplements, at prunes, ingested plenty of fiber, etc. I think the various meds she was taking were the culprit. Once she was in hospice, the problem seemed to lesson–she was in hospice at home for a year, then moved into a nursing home and ruled ineligible for almost a year before re-entering a couple of months before she died. Of course, by the time she first entered hospice her appetite was also much less. I wish you luck

  2. Does your mom take probiotics? That might help some. Good luck, Joy.

    • Good question! I’m a big believer in probiotics and take them faithfully. Mom’s oncologist recommended I get some for her so she’s been taking Phillips Colon Health for a few months now.

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