Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is a condition that causes stomach acid to be able to move back through the valve at the top of the stomach and into the esophagus. The symptoms are uncomfortable and include heartburn, trouble swallowing, and the regurgitation of sour liquid or food. Living with GERD can be unpleasant, but there are ways to cope with the condition and reduce the symptoms. Below are 5 tips for coping with GERD.
#1: Don’t Lay Down with a Full Stomach
When your aging relative lies down, gravity works against them, making it easier for the stomach’s contents to move in the wrong direction. To prevent GERD symptoms at bedtime, seniors should avoid eating within 2 hours of bedtime. This rule also applies to napping during the day. If your aging relative wants to take a nap after lunch, it may be better for them to nap in a chair instead of lying in bed.
#2: Lose Some Weight
Excess pounds place pressure on the stomach, squeezing the stomach’s contents back up into the esophagus. So, older adults who are overweight may feel better if they lose some weight, especially if they tend to carry the extra pounds around their abdomen.
#3: Avoid Trigger Foods
Certain foods are more likely to bring on heartburn. Some foods that it may be wise to avoid include:
- Caffeinated beverages.
- Fatty foods.
- Spicy foods.
#4: Quit Smoking
Cigarettes contain nicotine, which makes the valve at the top of the stomach weaker. As a result, it isn’t able to keep the stomach’s contents where they belong. Although quitting is hard, there are medications and other techniques that can make it easier. Seniors should talk to their doctors about how to quit.
#5: Eat More Frequent Smaller Meals
Large meals place pressure on the valve, causing it to open slightly. Instead of serving your aging relative three large meals per day, consider making four or five smaller meals spaced out through the day. Make sure the smaller meals are healthy and balanced so that the older adult gets enough nutrients.
Elder care can assist older adults to manage GERD. First, an elder care provider can remind the senior to take medications prescribed to control symptoms. Elder care providers can also prepare several small, nutritious meals throughout the day. In addition, an elder care provider can encourage your aging relative while they try to lose weight or quit smoking.
IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED ONE IS CONSIDERING SENIOR CARE IN HENDERSON, NV, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT GOLDEN HEART SENIOR CARE OF SUMMERLIN. 702-800-4616.