ladyelle and your mother's constipation

abreezeMarch 15, 2005

Hi ladyelle and welcome to the forum! Have your mother's constipation problems improved? That is a horrible problem for the elderly. What are some things you have done or are doing to get her to be more regular? Maybe we can offer some suggestions. Many caregivers have this problem with their loved ones. ~abreeze

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Ladyelle, I posted under your reply to my "incontinence" thread. Hope that helps your poor Mom.
I might also add....when my Mom had this problem years ago, we did have to take her to emerg at least twice so that she could be relieved of any blockage that had developed. I believe they used a suppository, or perhaps an fleet enema, but it turned out to be so necessary! If there is a dried blockage inside, nothing is able to be passed....something to consider, perhaps, if this persists....

    Bookmark   March 16, 2005 at 12:28AM
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My mom had colon cancer about 2 years ago. She was still in recoup when we moved here to Tx. I guess you know that a move for an elderly just don't mix.. And the fact that I had to stay at my brothers house for 2 days didn't help matters much either.. My poor mom..

Fast forward to today.. She takes 3 stool softners a day and prunes with dinner.. This is what she does and it doesn't really help.. Sometimes it gets really bad where she has to do the supository things.. She still squeezes :(
She flat out refuses to go to the ER for anything else. If anything now, she says she's going to die in my house :( just wonderful. Right?

Thank you so much for the welcome..

    Bookmark   March 16, 2005 at 8:45AM
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Make sure she drinks a lot of water -- that is really important. Also is she eating regular meals? The less that goes in, the less that comes out...etc.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2005 at 9:09AM
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I know I try to get her to drink the water, we even put a water filter on the fridge, but she refuses to drink, says it tastes funny.. She takes a barage of pills, all day long. From water pills, heart, throid, pressure, lung, (she's on oxygen too) insulin and the pill in the morning, stool softeners, depression, (she's on Zoloft) She takes a fist full of pills all day long every few hours, so you see why she can't be left for too long a time..

Only when she's sleeping to I get to run out for a breather.. Or, I take a nap myself.. Whew, I put in some day..

    Bookmark   March 16, 2005 at 11:07AM
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Elle, stool softeners didn't help my mother much, either. I did give her cooked prunes with her breakfast. (I pureed them which might make them easier to be digested...) When I brought her home from the hospital, her dentures wouldn't stay in her mouth for a couple of months. I pureed a lot and even tried some baby food fruit. (yuck!!) BUT I found that baby food PLUMS (also has some pears and apples in if I remember correctly) helped her... Does she drink enough water? It's hard to get them to drink it, but so necessary and the best of liquids. I would make Mom soup with chicken and vegetables, strain it and give her the broth to drink. The chicken and vegetables could be prepared for a meal... Dulcolax suppositories were the ONLY ones that would work with my parents. Fleet enemas WITH mineral oil are easier on the body.

I found whether my parents ate little or much, their bowels were STILL processing waste and needed to eliminate regularly. Dad had to take milk of magnesia DAILY. I kept a chart and monitored how much I gave him and how it affected him the next day. Sometimes 1T wasn't enough, and I'd give him 2T that day. If that made him too loose, I'd cut it back to 1 1/2T. At times I needed to give him 2 1/2T. He was good about taking it. Mom didn't like it, but would take it in desperate situations! :) It's tricky to get the right amt. Sometimes I had to go to 3 or 4T with them... I came upon Little Tummys' Laxative Drops for babies and would give that to Mother. That helped her BUT tasted terrible. I would put it in teaspoon of baked apples.

When Mother started in Hospice, they gave her a stool softener that worked better than anything I had been able to purchase OTC. All I can remember is that they had SENNA in them which is also in the Little Tummys laxative drops.

There may be something OTC available today in capsule form with SENNA for the bowels. Check with her dr. or pharmacist. I pray you can get a handle on this for her. It was a HUGE problem for my parents. (Mom was an invalid; Dad had pancreatic cancer...) Is she able to do some walking??? May God give you and her strength and wisdom. ~breezy

    Bookmark   March 16, 2005 at 11:10AM
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MY DH has cancer, and he uses Miralax, its a powder, prescription, I mix about a TBSP in a little water to dissolve it, and then I put some pop in it, about a cupful, he says it has no taste to it. Our DGD is 10 yrs old, (under dr orders) and has had bowel problems for years, she has to use it sometimes, only she gets a capful of it done the same way in the pop. you can use water, juice, etc.DH takes it every night with his pills. sometimes when you first start to use it, might take several days before it starts working, but don't give up on it, keep using it!! hope this helps! DianePA

    Bookmark   March 16, 2005 at 7:24PM
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I also use Miralax for Mom. We keep BM's written down....also prune juice works good for us and we make sure she is eating fiber,lots of fluids. She has days that walking is out but we try to let her walk as much as she can on her good days. Also we have found that fruits in her diet help....she will have some kind of fruit each meal.
Hey Diane....was thinking about you!!! How are things going we you and your loved ones?? Are you getting any time for yourself?? Remember a long time ago you mentioned about you and DH getting time away and just walking thur Walmart. Pray that things have settled down and all are well at your house. Blessings, Nora

    Bookmark   March 17, 2005 at 8:49AM
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Ladyelle, have you tried using bottled spring water? It might taste better to your mother than the filtered water. How about using Crystal Lite to flavor the water?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2005 at 11:39AM
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I wish I could do all those things for my mom. Thing is my husband isn't working and money is a very big issue right now in my house. I had to sell my house in NY (I didn't want to come here either) and now I might have to sell this one for a smaller one to save some more money..

I hope when and if he gets some kind of work, it's not too late for us, and we can get back on the right eating track. Till then I have to do what I can for her.. She's been doing ok on what she's doing so far, I just have to hope she's going to be ok with it for a little while longer..

    Bookmark   March 17, 2005 at 3:46PM
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Constitation is such a drag! I thought I would lose my mind when Mum first came here and I was faced with it. She was SO uncomfortable, poor thing.

WATER, WATER, WATER. It really does help. Mum is like a camel; fusses about drinking it, but I really force the issue and SHE WILL drink. Try the bottled water, and give it to her in small cups more frequently (sometimes 8 oz. is just plain overwhelming to someone who isn't used to drinking a lot). Before Mum's surgery and the subsequent urostomy, she had terrible urgency issues and frequent bladder incontinence. It made her even more unwilling to drink! Use decaffeinatated coffee, tea, beverages. VERY important.

Mum gets a serving of fruit first thing in the morning (she loves pineapple in its own juice; avoid fruits in sugary syrups). And an 8 oz. glass of water. And de-caf. tea. We use whole grain breads, brown rice (this is GREAT for constipation), a lot of beans, and a lot of vegetables at every meal. Go easy on the cheese and keep a sharp eye on salt and sodium levels as high ones will rob water from her system. But there are fresh fruit, vegetables, and 8 oz. of water at EVERY meal and she has to eat them.

Exercise is very helpful, too. She walks daily, uses the staircase multiple times daily... she was most plagued with constipation in the hospital and rehab. places; and no wonder! the food they served was absolutely disgusting, virtually devoid of fibre and nothing was fresh. Within 5 days of coming home and eating nutricious food she was off the laxatives completely and hasn't needed one since! I really like her new doctor; he was delighted to see our weekly menu. His comment was, if more people ate whole grains, more fruits and vegetables and upped their water intake their health issues would be greatly reduced.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2005 at 7:52AM
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I wish my mom could eat like yours, mom trys to drink with the millions of pills she has to take a day. I can't afford the veggies at every meal, that's just impossible. She loves her salt. I stopped cooking with it, even the Kosher salt.. I don't even put it in boiling water anymore.. I'm trying my best..

As far as walking, she can't walk, she goes from here to ----------here and she's out of breath, at first the oxygen was helping. But now all she does is sleep and watch TV..
:( We basically moved here to Tx to save our skins to help us pay off our debts and be nearer to her grandkids, (that by the way she NEVER SEES ANYMORE FOR ONE REASON OR ANOTHER).. So, I think she's pretty much just giving up..

I love her so much, I just wish she would forget about them and start living for me..

    Bookmark   March 19, 2005 at 3:24PM
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How about focusing on the vegetables that you can afford? onions, carrots, celery, cabbage, potatoes; and when the season is right the ones that are "in season". A bag of brown rice, lentils, pinto beans (any beans), garbanzos (chick peas) is not very expensive. Apples in bags, again, anything that's "in season"; look for canned fruits/vegetables on sale (watch out for syrups, or WASH it off).

One of our very favorite meals here is what we call "Slop". Saute onion, garlic, green pepper in some oil. Season with cumin and whatever else strikes your fancy. Add brown rice, cooked beans, and a can of stewed tomatoes. That's it! beans and rice=perfect protein. And it's delicious, keeps for days, and can be recycled into soup! Make your own stock from the trimmings of other vegetables; strain them out and you have stock... the base for soups/stews/sauces (you can freeze it!).

We LOVE brazed cabbage and carrot, too. We eat squash (try mixing it with potato in a hybrid latke (potatoe pancake). We eat apples that come in a bag. Try baking one for your Mom. Use them in bread pudding (with stale bread or cut off the mouldy crust and use what's left!). It's really hard to be creative when money is tight. But really, if you want to save money and improve health the best thing to do is redirect the meat budget to fruits and vegetables.

I sympathize. It's been awhile since my really dead broke college days, but with some thought and time I was able to feed myself very well and economically. Those habits have stuck with me to this day. I wonder if you might not be able to find some really good help over on the Cooking, Vegetarian, Money Saving forums?

    Bookmark   March 19, 2005 at 5:45PM
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