1. Spongecake

    Spongecake Registered User

    Apr 13, 2007
    Sorry, this is not a pleasant subject but.....My mum is in a care home and is well looked after but one thing worries me. She appears to be badly constipated quite a bit of the time. I know this because she appears bothered by it and wants to touch her bottom. I mention it frequently to the staff. One or two make light of it but they mostly give her a laxative when I mention the problem. The manager makes vague noises about perhaps taking her to the doctor, but I get the feeling they think I am making a bit of a fuss. Is constipation normal in moderate to severe Alzheimers'? And what is the best thing to do?
  2. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    It seems quite common, Spongecake, having read many posts. I expect it is caused by reduced activity, perhaps a less fibrous diet and also possibly because the body does not function as well as it did.

    But there should be no need for such a laid back attitude from the staff. Constipation is very uncomfortable and not healthy. If your mother is constipated there are many mild lubricants or laxatives which could be prescribed.

    I would ask the home to get medical advice for her. She should not have to be so uncomfortable.

    Please let us know how you get on.

    Love xx
  3. Libby

    Libby Registered User

    May 20, 2006
    North East
    Hi Spongecake

    I'm glad you've brought this up - with Mum - it's more the runs (can't spell diarroeah:confused:) We find stained paper tissues under her pillowcase, marks on her slippers and as for her finger nails - goodness knows what's in them.

    I've recently bought a nail brush and we've asked the home to ensure that she washes her hands and to help her clean her nails.

    Does your Mum eat any fruit and veg? We quite often take Mum grapes and oranges in because I don't think that the home give a very balanced diet.

    It's so hard when they can't explain what's wrong with them.

  4. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    I "think" my mother started taking Lactulose in her 70's and essentially continued taking it to her death (at 90). Whether that was a good thing or a bad thing the fact of the matter was that she was miserable if she didn't have a bowel movement. I don't know whether it's normal or not to be constipated, but even if it is, there's no reason that she should have to suffer any discomfort. Also, I would point out to these staff who appear so unconcerned that faecal impaction can be dangerous. No more vague noises from the manager - tell him to make the appointment and inform you when it is.
  5. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    Libby - it could be constipation though. One of the things that happens (or can do) with faecal impaction is that there ends up being a "plug" but liquid stool seeps out round it, hence the staining. She may well not even be aware that it's happening (i.e. it can be like that even without dementia).
  6. hendy

    hendy Registered User

    Feb 20, 2008
    West Yorkshire
    Dear spongecake
    Your are right to be concerned about your mum. She deserves better nursing care than she has been getting. If it is causing your mum distress, and it sounds like it is, insist on her being treated effectively for it. It sounds like she needs something a little stronger, perhaps?
    You have received some excellent advice so far Spongecake. I have just seen my dad be hospitalised because his behaviour at the home deteriorated. Whilst on the assessment ward, staff told me he was chronically constipated, and this probably caused a lot of his distress. It was simply bad nursing care, that caused a simple,preventable and treatable problem to escalate. I'm not saying that this is like your mums situation, just that it can have serious consequences. Why should your mum be suffering so?
    My dad is now on very strong laxative treatment!! Would it be possible for you to speak to mums GP, rather than the NH?
    take care
  7. lesmisralbles

    lesmisralbles Account Closed

    Nov 23, 2007
    Sound's like impaction to me

    My hubby. with having Parkinson's as well as Lewy bodies had constipation.
    If he does not go, he get's a solid plug, block's the bottom, and the only way out is seepage round the sides.
    He has been perscribed MOVICOL powders. They work, not as harsh as senna. Ask your Doctor.
  8. Margaret W

    Margaret W Registered User

    Apr 28, 2007
    North Derbyshire
    Dear Spongecake

    Lactulose might be fine for a few days to get things moving, but the best thing on earth is Prunes. My mum has them every day now (I had to insist the care home did that), and afer 6 months of problem constipation is right as rain. It only needs half a dozen at breakfast, 1/3 of a tin or thereabouts.

    Until it all gets working again, extra fruit is ideal, tinned or fresh or dried. If mum likes to nibble at things, dried apricots are great. Take them in for her. I know the care home should provide them, but if they don't then take them yourself.

    Hope this helps. Do try the prunes.

  9. Canadian Joanne

    Canadian Joanne Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 8, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    My mother's home uses prune juice all the time. My mother has a little shot glass of it most days. Prevention of constipation is a big concern with them, as it should be. We all know how uncomfortable we feel in that state, so imagine a person with dementia who can't really understand why they feel so off.

    Do get onto the home in a nice but persistent way & ask that they put some measures in place. Ask them to tell you what they are also.
  10. Spongecake

    Spongecake Registered User

    Apr 13, 2007
    Thank you

    Thanks everyone for all the helpful suggestions. I'm now taking fruit in to my mum every day and I'll try the prunes idea, because although they may be necessary, it doesn't seem good to take laxatives all the time. I will feel more confident talking to the manager about it now, thanks to your replies.
  11. gigi

    gigi Registered User

    Nov 16, 2007
    East Midlands
    Hello Spongecake..and everyone..

    Just a word of caution re constipation...

    Diet/laxatives etc fine...but adequate fluid intake is so important too..
    And is often overlooked in the elderly..

    And some laxatives like Fybogel do require a good fluid intake to help them work.

    Hope you get things sorted at the NH, Spongecake..

    Love Gigi xx
  12. Alison K

    Alison K Registered User

    Mar 29, 2008

    If your mother is constipated it can exascerbate confusion as can having a Urinary tract infection or chest infection. check fluid intake, if you can get dr or district nurse to see as simple examination will determine if compacted. If they refuse to get dr in i think repeorting to social services or whoever allows them to be open as a nursing home should be informed. It is a basic right for people to be able to comfortable and constipation is awful whatever your age etc. If they are properly trained they should be aware of added confusional states in an elderly person with this problem - good luck

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