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How to Reduce the Risk of Hernias in the Elderly

A hernia is a painful condition in which an organ pushes through an opening in the muscle or tissue that holds it in place. Most hernias can lead to secondary health complications if they aren’t treated as quickly as possible. Luckily, seniors can prevent hernias by exercising, eating healthy, and making a few lifestyle changes.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Gaining weight around the midsection puts more pressure on the abdominal wall, which increases the risk of hernias. Seniors should speak with a doctor or registered dietitian about the steps they can take to maintain an ideal weight. Those who are having a difficult time losing weight might need to work with a trainer.

Seniors who need assistance with exercises or other daily tasks should consider professional at-home care. Although it may be challenging to find a reliable, highly rated home care company, Philadelphia, PA, families can turn to Home Care Assistance. Our respite and live-in caregivers are expertly trained to assist seniors with a wide array of important tasks, including cooking, bathing, light housekeeping, and exercise.  

Avoid Rapid Weight Loss

Seniors can suddenly lose weight for many different reasons, including changes to their prescriptions, chronic illnesses, and oral health conditions. Caregivers should immediately schedule an appointment with a doctor if their aging loved ones suddenly lose more than one or two pounds in a week. Seniors also need to speak with a doctor if there are any unexpected changes to their appetite or bowel movements.

Stop Smoking

One of the many side effects of smoking is an increased risk of hernias. Tobacco products suppress the growth of new cells, which can weaken the abdominal lining. Smoking also irritates the lungs and triggers severe coughing fits that might cause a hernia. Seniors who are trying to quit smoking should keep healthy snacks with them at all times to suppress their cravings.

Treat Constipation Immediately

Bowel movement disorders are common among the elderly. Seniors who strain their abdominal muscles while using the restroom could accidentally force soft tissues to bulge out through the stomach. Eating unprocessed foods and drinking plenty of water should soften stools and make bowel movements much easier. If your loved one is still constipated, he or she might need to take a fiber supplement once or twice a day.

Caring for seniors with hernias or other serious health conditions can be overwhelming for family caregivers. If you are the primary caregiver for a senior family member and you need respite care, Philadelphia, PA, Home Care Assistance is here to help. Our respite caregivers are trained to assist older adults with a wide variety of everyday tasks, including meal prep, physical activity, and personal hygiene. We also provide 24-hour care and specialized care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s.

Strengthen the Core

Hernias occur when soft tissues push through weak abdominal muscles, and strengthening these muscles will make it harder for the bulges to appear. Movements such as bodyweight squats and lunges can increase core strength without damaging joints. Seniors with limited mobility can stabilize themselves during these exercises by holding onto a chair or counter.

Increase Flexibility

Yoga is a low-impact exercise that increases core strength and flexibility and boosts overall health. Several yoga movements can make the abdominal tissue more flexible, including the camel pose and wheel pose.

Living with a serious health condition can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Philadelphia seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more. If your aging loved one needs assistance with daily tasks or managing the symptoms of a disease, call Home Care Assistance at (215) 645.4663 or (484) 643.4663 today.