Bowel Movements for Elderly

My mother has Alzheimer's disease and has become incontinent.  She is 83. While removing certain foods and drinks from her diet has helped tremendously with urinary incontinence, she has 3-4 bowel movements a day.  Can you suggest or refer me to articles and information regarding bowel incontinence and how to limit the number of bowel movements?

Margit in New Hampshire, 57

Dear Margit,

Someone with dementia or Alzheimer's disease usually cannot tell you exactly what’s working well or not working within their own bodies.  It is best to involve your mother’s primary care physician as well as a geriatric nutritionist to work out  this issue.  By working together, they may be able to determine if she is having any negative interactions with her medications, or they may change her diet to better suit her current needs. They may also do a comprehensive blood analysis to make sure that your mother is getting the proper vitamins, minerals, and nutrients as well as adequate hydration. The body changes over time, and we must be sensitive to these changes (as it seems you are).  I wish you the best.

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