Senior Health Care: Adapting to Life with an Ostomy

If you’re reading this, you or someone you care about is probably navigating life with an ostomy. Let me say you’re not alone. Many seniors have been in your shoes, and while it can be a big adjustment, it’s entirely possible to live a full, happy life with an ostomy. Let’s dive into what that looks like.

The Emotional Rollercoaster

Let’s be real for a second—getting an ostomy can be an emotional rollercoaster. You may feel a mix of relief (because the surgery can be life-saving) and frustration (because, well, it’s a big change). It’s okay to feel a range of emotions—anger, sadness, relief, and even gratitude. Give yourself permission to feel all the feels. It’s part of the healing process.

Finding the Right Ostomy Products

medical-monks-ostomy-productsAlright, let’s talk gear. Finding the right ostomy products is crucial for comfort and peace of mind. There are tons of options out there, from ostomy bags to skin barriers and deodorants. Companies like Hollister, 180 Medical, and Coloplast offer a wide range of products designed to reduce leakage and protect your skin. Some patients swear by his SenSura® Mio Click drainable pouch from Coloplast.  The reassuring “click” gives a feeling of security.

Types of Ostomy Products

  • Ostomy Bags: These come in one-piece and two-piece systems. One-piece systems are simpler, but two-piece systems offer more flexibility.
  • Skin Barriers: These protect the skin around the stoma and help the bag adhere better.
  • Deodorants: These can be added to the bag to control odor.
  • Accessories: Items like belts, adhesive removers, and barrier rings can make life easier.

Daily Life with an Ostomy

Living with an ostomy means adapting your daily routine. It’s not just about the physical changes but also the emotional and social adjustments. Here are some tips to make the transition smoother:

Hygiene and Maintenance

Keeping the stoma and surrounding skin clean is crucial.  The bag can be changed every 3-5 days, or as your health care provider instructs.
It should always be checked for any signs of irritation or infection. Using a skin barrier to protect the area around the stoma is important.

Diet and Nutrition

Diet can play a big role in how well you adapt to life with an ostomy. Some foods can cause gas or blockages, so paying attention to what you eat is essential. You may be advised to avoid high-fiber foods and to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. A food diary to track what works and what doesn’t can be helpful.

Physical Activity

Yes, you can still be active! In fact, staying active is good for your overall health.  You may make few adjustments, like wearing a support belt to keep everything in place.

Emotional and Social Support

Having a support system is vital. Whether it’s family, friends, or a support group, having people who understand what you’re going through can make a world of difference. Joining a  local ostomy support group can be incredibly helpful by sharing tips and tricks for living with an ostomy.

Support Groups and Resources

  • United Ostomy Associations of America (UOAA): Offers resources and support groups.
  • Local Support Groups: Many communities have local groups where you can share experiences and get advice.
  • Online Forums: Websites like and various Facebook groups can be great places to connect with others.


Adapting to life with an ostomy is a journey filled with ups and downs. But with the right ostomy products, a solid support system, and a good dose of humor, you can confidently navigate this new chapter. Remember, you’re not alone. There are countless others who have walked this path and come out stronger on the other side.


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Last Updated on July 24, 2024 by Marie Benz MD FAAD