GERD, Digestive Health and Elderly Relatives

It’s common for elderly adults to struggle with digestive issues as they grow older.
As the body ages, the digestive system slows down and doesn’t work as efficiently. This can lead to a decline in digestive health and an increase in the symptoms of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, also known as GERD. Family caregivers and senior care providers should pay close attention to their aging loved one’s digestive complaints, so they know when it is just something minor or a condition that needs a doctor’s attention.

 

Homecare in Vaughan: GERD

Homecare in Vaughan: GERD

 

Common Digestive Problems in Seniors

Seniors are at a higher risk for chronic digestive issues such as GERD and it’s common for these problems to lead to long-term health problems. Some of the most common digestive problems include constipation, diverticulitis, and peptic ulcers. However, one of the most common digestive conditions to develop in old age is GERD and family caregivers and senior care providers should be on the lookout for the symptoms, so they can step in an assist.

 

How GERD Affects Seniors

The most common symptoms of GERD in seniors is chronic heartburn, nausea, irritation in the esophagus, sore throat and a bitter taste. The reason that GERD is so serious is because this condition forces stomach acid and partially digested food upward into the soft tissues of the esophagus. It can cause irritation, pain and can even wear away at the esophagus and mouth, causing long-term problems. It’s serious enough that if family caregivers and senior care providers observe symptoms of GERD, they should not let it go untreated.

 

Treating GERD in Seniors

The first thing a doctor will do is prescribe some medication for the elderly adult. This medicine can help keep acid levels lower and ease some of the pain associated with severe GERD. Family caregivers and senior care providers also play a big part in how well the elderly adult adheres to the treatment recommendations because a lifestyle change is a key factor in controlling GERD symptoms.

Seniors must stay away from certain foods that trigger excessive acid production, such as chocolate, onions, spicy food, fried food, alcohol, and coffee. Healthy eating can make a big difference in keeping GERD symptoms under control. Other ways to control GERD include monitoring how the body is positioned within a few hours after eating. In other words, seniors should not lie down just after a meal as that can enhance the backflow of acid. In serious cases of GERD, some aging adults need to sleep with a foam wedge under their head and shoulders, so they remain elevated, discouraging GERD symptoms.

There’s no doubt that GERD and other digestive issues can cause a lot of painful problems for aging adults. They usually do much better when under a treatment plan from a doctor, but cannot be successful on their own. When family caregivers and senior care providers are supporting them in treating GERD, aging adults can be comfortable and healthy despite the condition.

 

If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Homecare in Vaughan, please contact the caring professionals at Staff Relief Health Care 24/7 at (905)-709-1767.

About Susan Di Michele

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