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2023 NOV Family Caregivers Blog

Family Caregivers' Blog is available to share helpful information to support families caring for those with dementia.

Discussion on Constipation

Participant N, who recently gave birth to a baby, is busy taking care of the baby, their mother with dementia, and managing their own health. Despite this, they still managed to join the support group this month! N's mother has been experiencing some concerns regarding "lower care" recently, specifically with bowel movements. She sometimes struggles with constipation and other related issues. This is what we would refer to as bowel movement problems. In elderly care, the health of the bowels, including checking for constipation, is an important indicator of overall health. Especially with dementia, individuals may not remember if they have had a bowel movement, leading to instances where they may not realize they are constipated. However, they may still feel discomfort, such as bloating or abdominal pain. This discomfort can sometimes manifest as aggression or agitation, so it's crucial for caregivers to ensure regular bowel movements. Today, various ideas for relieving constipation were discussed. Suggestions included using laxatives, magnesium, super seeds containing chia or flax, goat kefir, prunes, and others. Since each individual may respond differently to these methods, it's essential to try different approaches. When a person with dementia suddenly becomes irritable or aggressive, it's easy to assume that the dementia has progressed. However, sometimes minor physical issues like constipation can be the cause. If you notice any unusual symptoms, consider checking bowel movements and exploring ways to alleviate constipation!

Living in a Facility

Ms. A's mother resides in a facility in Ontario, and her room is shared with another resident. In British Columbia, many facilities are being rebuilt due to aging infrastructure, with private rooms becoming the norm in newly constructed facilities. However, older facilities still have shared rooms. During a recent visit, Ms. A was startled to find cockroaches in a drawer in her mother's room. It seems that spilled food in the drawer attracted the cockroaches. Promptly, pest control was requested from the facility. However, Ms. A's mother's roommate also enjoys having snacks in the room, which may contribute to attracting pests. But, taking away this enjoyment from the roommate is not an option. There are various challenges in facility living that cannot be easily addressed. When caregiving at home becomes challenging, moving to a care facility becomes the only option. While care is provided in facilities, inconveniences may arise among residents. Balancing the rights and care of other residents while ensuring the comfort and care of one's own family member is challenging. Even after moving into a facility, the caregiver's concerns continue. While there may not always be solutions, sharing these concerns in support groups can help alleviate some of the burden.

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