Constipation is one of those subjects people are less likely to talk about yet one which can have a profound effect on health and well being. As this has cropped up as a worry or concern from time to time by some of our carers, now would be a good time to address this common issue.
As the taste buds and diet of a person with dementia change over time, it is quite likely they will experience constipation at some point.
Searching the internet, an article by Milton Keynes NHS Foundation Trust was found on steps to take to prevent constipation, and good positions to adopt when opening the bowels. The latter includes raising the feet onto a footstool, which as the article says improves the angle of the rectum within the pelvis. The article is here.
If constipation is starting to become a problem then maybe consider a natural remedy. A study was carried out in a care home whereby residents were given a completely natural laxative, known as the Beverley-Travis Natural Laxative Mixture every day and this greatly reduced the incidences of constipation. The mixture was rated as easy or very easy to administer, was cost effective and more effective than prescribed laxatives at producing normal bowel movements. Link to article here.
The recipe for the Beverley-Travis Natural Laxative Mixture containing dried fruits in equal measure can be found here.
In terms of the recipe, it is likely water or orange juice would work.
People with dementia acquire a sweet tooth over time so, as this mixture is sweet, as the study showed, it should be easy to administer.
We suggested this recipe to a family member in the past and they reported it was effective.
IMPORTANT: Constipation can be caused by a myriad of reasons not just dietary problems so as always, if in any doubt please speak to your doctor and seek their advice.