Surprising connection between digestive woes and senior blues

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senior-blues(NaturalHealth365)  If you’re a senior or have a loved on in their senior years, you’re probably acquainted with the shifts in the human elimination system that accompany the golden years.  Many seniors often note, “Everything moves slower as you get older,” and for valid reasons.

Many elders spend much of their days engaged in sedentary activities like watching TV, reading, or surfing the web.  Unfortunately, such habits don’t contribute to proper digestion; instead, they can lead to issues like constipation and incomplete bowel movements.

In fact, a recent study in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology has even established a link between seniors’ digestive problems and an increase in feelings of loneliness and depression.

People may be ‘living longer,’ yet also developing more digestive problems

The average life expectancy has steadily increased over the 20th and 21st centuries, with the typical person in the United States now living up to 76 years.  However, this extended lifespan is somewhat overshadowed by the rising prevalence of digestive issues among seniors.

The University of Michigan conducted a study, the link to which is provided above, to delve into the correlation between digestive problems and heightened rates of depression and loneliness in the senior population.  The research team scrutinized social isolation, depression, and loneliness in older adults, comparing those with digestive problems to those without such issues.

This investigation drew on data spanning eight years, from 2008 to 2016, from a retirement study.  The longitudinal panel study encompassed a representative sample of over 20,000 individuals aged 50 and above, including their spouses, across the United States.

The double whammy of senior digestive disease and isolation has the potential to become a public health crisis as the population “greys”

Among the 7,110 participants analyzed in the study, the authors found that 56% experienced digestive problems, while 44% did not.  Notably, 60.4% of those with digestive problems reported feelings of loneliness, compared to 55.6% of those without stomach problems.

The study further revealed that among individuals with digestive diseases, 12.7% were severely depressed, and 8.9% experienced social isolation.  In contrast, among those without digestive diseases, 7.5% reported depression, and 8.7% faced social isolation.

In addition, individuals dealing with a digestive disease were more likely to rate their health as poor or fair compared to those without such issues.  Notably, those with a combination of digestive disease, loneliness, and moderate/severe depression were even more inclined to indicate poor or fair health.  The study’s implications suggest the importance of incorporating depression and loneliness screenings during medical appointments, especially in gastroenterology settings.

Promoting digestive and emotional well-being in older adults

If you’re a senior or approaching your golden years, seize the chance to make the most of each day.  Incorporate gentle exercises like biking, walking, or even light jogging into your routine.  Explore hobbies that involve physical activity without too much strain, such as pickleball.  Plus, promote sweating (on a regular basis) by using a far infrared sauna … especially if you don’t have enough energy to generate sweat from physical activity.  Remember, sweating is an essential part of the detoxification process and will greatly improve your overall wellbeing.

Prioritize hydration throughout the day and include fiber-rich foods like organic apples, oranges, prunes, and probiotic rich foods like non-GMO miso and raw sauerkraut into your diet.

For those grappling with digestive issues, it’s crucial to be keenly aware of the potential impact on personal psychology and social life.  Frequent bathroom trips or the anxiety of rushing for relief can take a toll on your social interactions.  Acknowledge the potential disruption to your social life due to stomach issues and actively seek connections with others to stay engaged in the community, preventing isolation that may lead to feelings of depression.

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