Senior flatulence can be more of an issue than people realize. For caregivers, senior flatulence can actually be an occupational hazard. While one can always ignore the smell or pretend you didn’t hear the noise, there is always the possibility that flatulence can indicate a more serious bowel movement or digestive problem.
Fortunately, this is not usually the case when a senior farts. Most of the time it’s simply a normal sign of digestion. However, there are some symptoms to look out for to indicate a possible underlying issue. For example, if senior flatulence is accompanied by anything such as weight loss, diarrhea, decreased appetite, abdominal pain, or distention, it may time to make an appointment with a primary care provider.
These symptoms could indicate that there may be a more serious problem such as inflammatory bowel disease, IBS, chronic mesenteric ischemia, or intestinal bacterial growth. All of these are underlying issues that will require follow up with a professional medical provider. If you’re unsure of whether there could be an issue, it may be best to err on the side of caution. However, here are some of the most common causes of senior flatulence:
Lactose intolerance is a surprisingly common issue for seniors with an extremely simple solution. If your senior is developing an noticeable reaction to lactose products such as yogurt, milk, or cheese, you can start removing these products from your senior’s diet for a week. If your senior complains about losing some of their favorite foods, there are plenty of lactose free milk and dairy products available. Additionally, you can try subbing in Lactaid tablets to help them digest their favorite items.
If your senior has difficulty digesting fructose products such as fruits, products containing fruit juice, and sugary drinks like soda. Any food products that contain high fructose corn syrup are also candidates for possible food types to excise from your senior’s diet.
Naturally Gassy Foods
Here is another factor to consider. Some foods are natural gas producers. If eaten in high enough quantities, foods like cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts) beans, lentils, potatoes, onions, and whole grains can all cause significant gas. This is due in part to the high amount of fiber and starches in these foods.
Older adults take a variety of medications. As such, digestive issues such as flatulence are not an uncommon occurrence. Some of the biggest culprits for getting seniors gassy include blood pressure medications, pain relievers, and antibiotics. If you are concerned, check your loved one’s medication capsules to see if flatulence is listed as a common side-effect. You can also contact your loved one’s primary medical provider.
Sometimes, having dentures and difficulty chewing can cause seniors to accidentally swallow air during otherwise normal activities. This air then gets released as gas. While there’s no way to fully prevent this, you can always double check to ensure your senior’s dentures are properly fitted and that they are properly chewing when they eat food. You can also help by choosing easy to chew foods.
Advanced age is almost always associated with constipation and flatulence due to the slowing down of the digestive tract. If constipation is a continual issue, you should encourage your loved one to drink more water and ingest fiber-rich foods.
How to Minimize Senior Gas
Dietary and lifestyle modifications are one of the best ways to help eliminate the issue of excessive gas. If your loved is experiencing constant discomfort and bloating on account of gas, you may want to consider oral probiotics as a useful addition to your daily routine. Another underlying issue may be a deficit of good bacteria to support healthy digestion. If this is the case, then probiotics are probably the way to go.
You can determine whether probiotics are necessary by consulting with a healthcare professional. Overall, discovering the right combination of strains for your loved one will take a bit of independent research and some trial and error, but all are available over the counter. Probiotics are also taken with prebiotics, which are non-digestible foods that bacteria grow more effectively.
The Importance of Senior Fitness & Health
For anyone, staying in shape is a positive way to keep happy and healthy. It’s also an excellent method for lowering risk of adverse health conditions such as heart disease, obesity, and even anxiety and depression. Regularly scheduled physical activities are even more important for persons at an advanced age level. Staying active can improve quality of life for seniors, reduce risk of falling injuries and improve mental perception. In order to live long, productive lives, it’s important for seniors to keep their bodies moving, fueled with the right substances, and achieving adequate sleep.
Why is Health and Fitness Important for Seniors?
With the advancement of age, there comes a bevy of unavoidable body changes. Metabolism is expected to slow down, and the body accumulates fat much easier than it used to, as opposed to generating muscle strength. Risk of osteoporosis also rises, especially in elderly women, increasing the likelihood of bone fractures and serious injuries. However, with the right exercise regimen in place, you can reduce these other aging related changes in the body.
Important benefits include:
- Improvements in mood and mental clarity
- Improved sleep
- Reduced risk of falling, bone fractures
- Reduced risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, depression, and dementia
At Landmark Senior Living, our goal is to create the utmost in independent living for every one of our senior housing residents. Our independent living program is tailored to each individual’s needs and includes robust daily exercise, yoga, & strength training classes available for seniors. Our broad range of activities and events will help you to take care of your mental and physical health.