For the past few days, my 83 year-old father has been a little backed up. While under my care, he has experienced this several times and at first, we credited the changes to his decreased mobility. However, we’re discovering it’s likely the medications he’s started taking for his Parkinson’s. Not only is his constipation uncomfortable for him, but it has also started to affect his control of his bladder.
Constipation is common among the elderly. There are many potential causes for it – poor diet, depression or other medical condition, irregular toileting routines, medications. It may also be a cause of bladder control problems. When the rectum is full of stool, it may disturb the bladder and cause the sensation of urgency and frequency.
A common remedy for constipation is extra fiber in the diet. I’ve found the recipe below helps my Dad become a bit more regular. It can be stored in the fridge or freezer. I’ve taken to making batches of it and freezing pre-measured servings in ice cube trays to thaw as needed. Not only does this make prep a little easier, my Dad thinks the slightly frozen mixture is soothing and refreshing. Begin with two tablespoons each evening, followed by one 6 to 8 ounce glass of water or juice. After 7 to 10 days, increase this to 3 tablespoons. At the end of the second to third week, increase it to 4 tablespoons. We usually see an improvement in Dad’s bowel habits in about two weeks.
1 cup applesauce
1 cup oat bran
1/4 cup prune juice
Spices as desired (cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.)