How to Handle Incontinence in Seniors – SeniorAdvice.com Blog

How to Handle Incontinence in Seniors

| Posted in General Senior Living

incontinence

As a senior caregiver or loved one, there may be a number of issues that you need to help your family member with as they continue to age. Some of these issues may be more delicate than others, which is typically the case with problems related to incontinence.

Incontinence can be an embarrassing condition, but it is one that is unfortunately quite common among seniors. There are many issues that may result in incontinence, ranging from medication side effects to physical conditions or even dementia. It is important to note that while incontinence is common, it is not “normal” so any new issues with incontinence should be addressed by a doctor immediately.

Sometimes, medical conditions such as prostate issues, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease or UTIs can be to blame for incontinence. In other situations, medications can actually cause the bladder muscles to relax causing issues with incontinence in seniors. Stress incontinence can be due to birth trauma and pelvic organ prolapse.

No matter what the cause is, as a caregiver, it is important that you are able to be supportive of any senior dealing with this condition. Here are a few tips on how to respond to these delicate issues to make sure that your loved one isn’t embarrassed by this problem.

  • Never scold a senior who has an accident, and do your best to preserve their dignity and to not make them feel embarrassed. Never scold a senior for having an accident.
  • Don’t try to withhold fluids to prevent accidents. This can actually cause serious issues with dehydration. You can limit things like caffeine or too many liquids before bed, but never withhold water to a thirsty senior.
  • Keep the lines of communication between you and your loved one open and let them know that you can help them if they need to use the restroom but feel as though they can’t go on their own.
  • Be aware of the warning signs that your loved one may be about to have an accident so you can step in and help if needed.
  • Make sure it is easy for your loved one to get to the bathroom and that they always know where the bathroom is if they have to get there in a hurry.
  • Feel free to remind your loved one to use the toilet if they have dementia or may forget to use the bathroom in the morning or at night. A regular schedule can be helpful.
  • Consider incontinence products like mattress covers, pads and adult briefs.
  • Make sure that your loved one is always wearing clothing that is easy to remove and even easier to clean.

No senior ever wants to deal with incontinence, but as a caregiver, it is important that you know how to support and care for someone who is dealing with this problem. Make sure you rule out any serious medical problems, act supportive and do what you can to help your loved one adjust to life with incontinence so they can continue to have the best quality of life possible even with this issue.

Author Profile

Dr. Kim Langdon
Kimberly Langdon M.D. is a retired, board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist with 19-years of clinical experience. She graduated from The Ohio State University College of Medicine earning Honors in many rotations. She then completed her OB/GYN residency program at The Ohio State University Medical Center, earning first-place for her senior research project and placed in the 98th percentile on the national exam for OB/GYN residents in the U.S..

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