You might not realize this, but at the end of your family member’s life, digestive issues may take up a considerable amount of time and problem-solving skills.
The reasons for that can vary, but these are usually mild issues that can become more severe quickly. Keeping an eye on what is going on can help you to address situations before they become dangerous.
Constipation and Obstruction of the Bowel
As your senior’s life continues to slow down, many things are slowing down, too. This includes her digestive system in general and her bowels in particular. Your elderly family member may be eating different types of foods or not nearly as often. She may not be nearly as mobile as she used to be, which might even mean that she’s bedridden. Medication is another contributor to slower than usual bowels, so it’s important to know what side effects your senior might experience. If constipation goes on for too long, your family member might have to deal with an obstruction, which requires medical intervention.
Nausea or Vomiting
It’s not uncommon at all for a family member near the end of life to experience vomiting or nausea on a daily basis. Sometimes this is a result of medication side effects or other types of treatments. In other cases, nausea or vomiting could be a result of ailments that she’s battling. These issues could also simply be a result of not eating as she normally did or not being as active as she once was. If you’re not sure what’s contributing to nausea or vomiting, be sure to talk to your family member’s doctor.
Loss of Appetite
Both constipation and nausea can have a huge impact on your family member’s appetite. As if that weren’t enough, though, simply being less active and sleeping more often can also contribute to a lack of appetite. It’s tricky, but helping your aging adult to eat nutrient-rich foods when she’s willing and able to eat can make a big difference. Smoothies can be an option, especially if you can add protein powder and plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Hospice care teams can help you and your elderly family member to distinguish when these issues are a larger problem.
They can also help you learn how to help her to remain as comfortable as possible with the time that she has left. Comfort at the end of your family member’s life can be the most important factor to consider.