How to help an elderly loved one with incontinence?
Do you notice your elderly loved ones always needing to go to the toilet? Or perhaps they are starting to accidentally wet or soil themselves frequently? If yes, then they probably have incontinence.
Incontinence is a medical condition where one loses control of their bladder or bowel. Many elderly people experience this, but it is a subject that they do not like to talk about due to embarrassment making them feel reluctant to seek help.
If you have a loved one who is experiencing incontinence, the first thing you need to do is to not panic. Incontinence is not an unusual condition and there are many ways to treat it. It is important that you try to learn everything you can about their condition, so you can understand what they are going through as well as give the right kind of support they need.
What causes incontinence among the elderly?
In order for you to understand your loved one’s symptoms better and to give them the best possible care that they need, learning about what’s causing their incontinence is a start.
While aging may be a factor, urinary incontinence is not an inevitable part of aging. There are several reasons why incontinence occurs:
Weak pelvic floor muscles. A common cause in the elderly people is a general weakening of the pelvic muscles, which support the bladder, bowel, and uterus, due to shifts in hormones.
Overactive bladder. Or OAB, which causes a sudden urge to urinate.
Neurologic bladder disorders. Stroke, dementia, diabetes, Parkinson's, Multiple Sclerosis are examples of disorders that can cause damage to the nerves that control the bladder.
Immobility. This also increases the likelihood of incontinence as it can cause difficulty in getting to the bathroom in time;
Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. People with these kinds of disorders reduce their motivation to go to the bathroom.
Menopause. For women, estrogen levels drop with the approach of menopause, which leads to a weakening of pelvic muscles.
An enlarged prostate. In men, the prostate gland grows larger which can slow down the passage of urine, therefore causing the bladder muscles to malfunction.
How can you help your elderly loved ones with incontinence?
Initially, your loved one may not feel inclined to talk about their incontinence, and it is natural to feel this way. However, in order to deal with it effectively, the problem must be approached and talked about in a sensitive manner. You can start by showing emotional support, staying calm, and understanding their situation.
If your elderly loved one hasn’t seen a doctor yet, make an appointment soon. You can first go to a general practitioner who can try to establish the cause of the problem, or refer you to a specialist if there are no clear medical reasons for it.
Elderly people with prolonged issues with incontinence may sometimes require intensive care and focused attention. Hiring a home-care worker or caregiver may be necessary. This will make it easier for you and your loved ones as home-care workers are emphatic and highly trained for the job. When choosing a home-care worker for your loved one, it is very important to hire someone who will be compatible with them to ensure the best possible outcome for both parties.
What are the products to help manage incontinence
There are various products available to elderly people who are suffering from incontinence. Some products are well-designed incontinence pads and pants that would provide product features that are necessary for comfort and good hygiene that your loved ones deserve, and most importantly, minimize the impact of any accidents.
Your loved ones can try Caress Basic for minimal leakage and dribbling, and Caress Day Use for comfortable daily routines. These Caress Adult Diapers have a Liquid Distribution Layer that quickly draws the liquid from the skin, making them feel dry. They also have leak guards to help ensure no leakage. Caress Adult Diapers also have a soft-cottony material with a breathable outer cover, providing overall comfort. They also have antibiosis that prevents the growth of harmful bacteria that may cause skin irritation, infection and bed sores and lastly, they are able to deodorize, neutralizing urine odor.
To ensure that your loved one gets a good night’s rest, they can use Caress Overnight Maxi Adult Diaper which offers the same product feature and has longer and wider absorbent pad providing longer protection especially at night.
You can also get Caress underpads to help ensure the bed remains clean throughout. Caress Underpads are made with absorbent qualities that can pull moisture away from the surface and into its absorbent material, protecting the skin from rashes.