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How to Reduce the Risk of Hernias in Seniors

By , 9:00 am on

A hernia occurs when an organ bulges through openings in tissues or muscles. This condition most commonly occurs in the abdomen when the intestines push through a weakened part of the abdominal wall. This painful condition affects many seniors, but there are ways to prevent hernias from occurring. Here are a few effective hernia prevention methods for seniors. 

Maintain a Healthy Weight

There are many reasons hernias develop, but one of the most common causes is excess weight. When seniors carry too much weight in their abdominal region, it can put greater pressure on the area, which can lead to painful hernias. To maintain a healthy weight, seniors should try swapping fatty foods for lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables. Seniors who are trying to lose weight should do so gradually, as unhealthy crash diets can leave the abdomen weak and susceptible to herniation. 

If your elderly loved one needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of Fairfield home care. Services our caregivers provide include transportation to and from medical appointments and social events, nutritious meal preparation, assistance with daily exercise, and help with everyday tasks like bathing, grooming, and light housekeeping.

Prevent Constipation

Chronic constipation can cause the muscles in the abdomen to strain, which can lead to hernias. Seniors can prevent hernias by switching to high-fiber diets. Staying hydrated also prevents constipation and staves off hernias. If the problem isn’t corrected with dietary and lifestyle changes, seniors should talk to their doctors who can prescribe medication, supplements, or dietary restrictions to solve the problem. 

Don’t Smoke

Smoking is a lifelong habit for many seniors, and it can be difficult to quit. However, seniors who are prone to hernias should try to give up their daily cigarettes. The coughing caused by prolonged exposure to cigarette smoke can lead to herniation. Nicotine is also believed to weaken the abdominal wall. Seniors who want to quit smoking should consider joining a support group, seeing a therapist, or using a nicotine patch. 

Exercise the Abdominal Muscles

Smoking, constipation, and leading a sedentary lifestyle can weaken the abdominal muscles. To prevent hernias, seniors should try to strengthen their abdominal muscles through gentle exercises. They may want to try ab exercises suitable for seniors, like the bridge pose, superman pose, and bird-dog pose. They may also want to increase their overall fitness level via cardiovascular exercises.

Seniors who need assistance with exercises or other daily activities can benefit from professional in-home care. Fairfield respite care professionals can assist seniors with a wide array of daily tasks, offering family caregivers the chance to focus on other personal responsibilities or take a break to prevent burnout. Whether it’s for a few hours a day or a few days a week, respite care is the perfect solution for family caregivers who are feeling overwhelmed. 

Don’t Strain Muscles

Hernias are also caused when people lift heavy objects incorrectly. Seniors should not spend a lot of time doing heavy lifting and avoid activities that strain the back. Something as simple as moving a lamp from one table to another could cause unnecessary strain or exacerbate an existing condition.

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. Fairfield seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more. To create a customized, high-quality care plan for your aging loved one, call Home Care Assistance at 203-955-1915 today.