Blog by Mark Wolfe, Customer Account Representative, GrandView Pharmacy

Healthy living protocols can span several areas of one’s body that older residents and patients need to be aware of, but sometimes take for granted. Monitoring toilet habits is very important to anyone’s health, but especially important in elderly who are at greater risk due to aging process, a sedentary life style, loss of muscle mass, taking medications that may slow down digestion and increasing the likelihood that stool builds up in one’s colon.

GrandView Pharmacy has Healthy Living Protocols that help long term care facilities keep compliant with new federal regulations and policies.

Constipation not only can cause discomfort in individuals it can lead to severe pain if early symptoms are ignored. By ignoring warning signs grave illness can develop and can even lead to death. As stated earlier, several factors can contribute to one becoming constipated but other less obvious actions/inactions can lead to becoming constipated. Those might include not keeping regular toilet times, or bowel movements, bypassing an opportunity to use the toilet due to an unfamiliar/clean toilet facility, being distracted with other activities, etc. One surprising cause of constipation can be caused by taking laxatives so often that one’s body is fooled to know what the body needs to have a bowel movement. Since, elderly people take more medications bowel movements should be actively monitored as many medications can slow down digestion causing stool to backup and make BMs painful resulting in one refraining from attempting to use the toilet, which only compounds the problem. One way to combat constipation is to increase one’s activity level. Regular exercise helps the body to digest food properly and to assist stool to navigate the colon to have a healthy bowel movement(BM).

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that constipation is a normal part of aging, but it can be caused do to illness, decreased mobility, certain medications, decreased fluid and fiber intake, inability to easily get to the toilet, and long-standing use of laxatives.

Constipation can be eliminated with individuals working to make sure they increase dietary fiber and fluid, have regular toileting and exercise.

  • Remember to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily.
  • Increase dietary fiber. How? Eat fruits, vegetables and grains.
  • Cutback on the amount of caffeine in your diet. Coffee and soft drinks are big contributors of caffeine.
  • Finally, be sure to exercise regularly. Something is better than nothing. If you can walk easily walk at a faster pace or take the long way around to increase steps. Exercise and gravity can be your friend.

If you are unable to exercise, try using stool softeners like Docusate Sodium. Be sure to take these pills with 8 oz of water or juice. Consult your physician or nurse so that they can help you by reviewing your condition and make appropriate recommendations.

About the Author

Click here to learn more about Mark and the rest of the GrandView team.