Does Digestion Change With Age?

While the digestive system is more resilient to the effects of aging over other parts of the body, there are still some changes associated with growing older.

Elderly adults can experience all kinds of digestive issues that affect how and what they eat, as well as their ability to process food and eliminate it from the body. Family caregivers that look after an elderly relative should be familiar with age-related digestive issues so they know what to look for and how to help.


Homecare in Piedmont CA: Senior Digestic Health

Homecare in Piedmont CA: Senior Digestic Health


Common Digestive Issues in Elderly Adults

Movement of muscles along the digestive tract is one of the most noticeable signs of aging. This means that it takes longer for food to move through the body. This may result in feelings of fullness, therefore a diminished appetite. It can also lead to more frequent constipation. Some seniors also develop GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease. With this condition, elderly people suffer from heartburn and esophageal irritation because stomach acid is forced upward.

Other digestive issues that appear frequently in aging adults include ulcers. Years of taking different medications can influence the stomach lining. The result is open sores or wounds in the stomach, where those acidic digestive juices erode the protective lining. Symptoms include abdominal pain and bleeding.

Still, other conditions include bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine, lactose intolerance, sluggish metabolism and diverticulosis (polyps on the colon). In summary, some elderly adults can suddenly develop digestive issues even if they’ve never had them in their adult life. Family caregivers and home care assistants should be on the lookout for digestive distress symptoms so they can help find relief.


Treatment and Prevention of Digestive Issues for Seniors

Family caregivers and their aging relatives can’t slow down time, but they can try to keep the digestive system as healthy as possible and treat any issues promptly. Medical experts have a lot of tips for seniors and their family members about how to avoid some of the common problems with digestion.

  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables for the nutrients as well as the fiber.
  • Concentrate on a low fat, high fiber diet.
  • Choose brown instead of white when it comes to pasta, bread, and rice.
  • Stay hydrated and minimize drinks like coffee, soda, and alcohol.
  • Participate in some light to moderate exercise several times per week.
  • Avoid excess weight.


Check with a doctor about side effects of the medicine that might affect digestion.

By implementing these kinds of healthy habits, elderly adults can prevent or minimize a number of digestive problems that are common with age. As a precaution, family caregivers should also become familiar with the symptoms of serious digestive issues. If an elderly person is experiencing abdominal pain, weight loss, bleeding or vomiting, they should see a doctor as soon as possible.


If you or an aging loved-one are considering Homecare in Piedmont, CA, call the caring staff at Aviva In-Home Care. Call today: (415) 795-2203


Evan Loevner, CEO

As a former hospital administrator, I launched Aviva with the goal of having a more focused, direct impact on the delivery of care than I could ever accomplish within a hospital setting. For me, the joy of running an organization like Aviva In-Home Care is having the ability to positively improve the lives of individuals needing customized care. As a passionate San Francisco resident, I know that many local seniors can benefit from new approaches to in-home care, that will bring them more connection to the community, and provide families with a greater sense of comfort that their loved one is indeed matched with an ideal caregiver. This starts by including the family throughout the care planning process, a key component of the concept of “family-centered care,” which has been adopted by top medical centers. A strong communication loop between family, the caregiver, Aviva management, and community healthcare practitioners is essential for ensuring that all the needs of the client are met. While this may not sound like a novel concept, it is not commonly practiced within the home care community.

At Aviva, we also use the latest in health technology to maximize opportunities for communication between all members of our client’s care circles. We utilize nursing oversight to ensure that we are in compliance with physician orders, and that our careplans are being properly administered. Lastly, Aviva is a proud member of The Senior’s Choice, a national network of leading home care agencies that share best practices and focus on continual improvement.

As owner of the business, I also promise to you my direct involvement in your loved ones care, and will always make myself available for feedback and improvements in our service. I look forward to working with you and your loved one on creating a care plan that is perfectly suited to the family's needs. Thank you for considering Aviva as your care partner.

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