GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a common problem in aging adults. GERD happens when stomach acid flows back up the esophagus from the stomach. It’s incredibly uncomfortable and can cause your senior to lose sleep, stop eating, and suffer from a poor quality of life.
Keep Track of Symptoms
Keeping a log of symptoms is always a good idea with any health issue, but it can be particularly helpful when your senior is battling GERD. Tracking food intake, when she feels better, and when she feels worse can be really useful information. If your senior’s doctor has recommended that she takes any medications, track how helpful they are and whether your senior experiences side effects.
Sometimes What She’s Wearing Increases Discomfort
If your elderly family member tends to wear clothing that’s tight around her middle, she might find that during GERD episodes she feels that the clothing is too restrictive. It’s a good idea to try out looser clothing or different styles of clothing. That can help a good bit when she’s still experiencing multiple episodes with GERD each day.
Diet Matters a Lot
GERD is an issue in the digestive tract, which means that what your senior eats matters a lot. Her doctor may give her a specific GERD diet that helps her to start determining what her food triggers are. Some people find that spicy foods, fried foods, or caffeine make their list of foods to avoid. Your senior may have different triggers.
When Your Senior Eats Has an Impact
As much as it matters what your senior eats, when she eats can be triggering for GERD, too. If she’s eating the majority of her meals late in the day, that could create some discomfort for her. Also, if she eats and then lies down, that can put pressure on her stomach and esophagus. Track when she has the most trouble to help sort out whether timing is having an effect.
She May Get Relief from Exercise
One suggestion your senior’s doctor may offer her is to start an exercise program. She might think this isn’t related, but it really can help. Exercise can help the digestive system to work a little better and if excess weight, particularly in her midsection, is applying pressure to her stomach, losing a little weight might help.
There are a lot of different treatment methods for GERD, so your senior doesn’t have to feel as though she needs to suffer in silence. Managing big changes can be intimidating, so having elderly care providers helping her along the way is something to consider, too.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring Elderly Care in Columbia, SC, contact Heart of the Carolinas Home Care at 864-991-3116. Providing Home Care Services in Greenville, Simpsonville, Greer, Anderson, Spartanburg, Mauldin, Seneca, Laurens, Charleston, Columbia and the surrounding areas.