Managing Acid Reflux in Seniors: Tips for Comfortable Aging

As we get older, our bodies change, and acid reflux becomes a more common problem. Acid reflux, commonly known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), can cause discomfort and a lower quality of life in seniors. Fortunately, there are tactics and lifestyle changes that can help reduce symptoms and improve overall health. In this blog post, we will look at several successful techniques to help seniors manage acid reflux as they age and how home care assistance can help seniors make the necessary changes.

Understanding Acid Reflux in Seniors

Before getting into strategies for managing acid reflux in seniors, let’s first define acid reflux and why it affects older people more frequently. Acid reflux is when stomach acid runs back into the esophagus, producing discomfort and inflammation. Common symptoms include heartburn, regurgitation, chest pain, difficulty swallowing, and a sour taste in the mouth.

Several reasons contribute to the higher occurrence of acid reflux among seniors:

  • Decreased muscular tone: As we age, the muscles that govern the aperture between the esophagus and stomach may weaken, allowing stomach acid to reflux more easily.
  • Hiatal hernia: This disorder, in which a part of the stomach protrudes into the chest cavity via the diaphragm, is more common in older people and can cause acid reflux symptoms.
  • Medications: Seniors frequently use medications to treat a variety of health concerns, some of which might relax esophageal muscles or increase stomach acid production, increasing reflux symptoms.
  • Lifestyle factors: Diet, obesity, smoking, and certain behaviors, such as reclining down after eating, can all cause acid reflux.

Tips to Help Seniors with Acid Reflux

While each situation is different, there are some common tips that seniors can incorporate with home care assistance.

Encourage healthy eating habits:

  • Promote a diet high in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.
  • Limit acidic and spicy foods, as well as fatty or fried foods, as these might cause reflux.
  • Encourage smaller, more frequent meals over larger, heavier meals.
  • To decrease nocturnal reflux, avoid eating for 2–3 hours before bedtime.

Maintain a healthy weight:

  • Help seniors maintain a healthy weight by encouraging them to exercise regularly and limit their portion sizes.
  • Excess weight, particularly in the abdomen, can put pressure on the stomach and exacerbate acid symptoms.

Elevate the head of the bed:

  • Elevating the head of the bed by 6–8 inches can assist in preventing overnight reflux.
  • Place blocks or bed risers under the bed legs to achieve this, or use a wedge-shaped pillow.

Medication management:

  • Ensure that seniors take their medications as recommended, but be mindful of any potential side effects that may worsen acid reflux.
  • If reflux symptoms persist or worsen, they should talk to their doctor about modifying their prescriptions.

Lifestyle modifications:

  • Encourage seniors to quit smoking, as it can aggravate acid reflux and raise the risk of problems.
  • Avoid tight clothing, which can put pressure on the abdomen and exacerbate reflux symptoms.

Stress reduction techniques:

  • Stress and anxiety can worsen acid reflux symptoms. Encourage seniors to use relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or moderate yoga to alleviate stress.

Helping seniors manage acid reflux necessitates a combination of lifestyle changes, dietary tweaks, and regular medical care. By applying these measures, seniors can alleviate reflux symptoms and improve their quality of life as they age. Home care assistance is vital for tailoring treatment programs to seniors’ individual needs and ensuring appropriate acid reflux control.

If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Care Assistance in Katy, TX, contact the caring staff at Personal Caregiving Services at 832-564-0338. Providing Care in Houston, Bellaire, West University Place, Katy, and Sugar Land, and the surrounding areas.

Sid Gerber