With incontinence comes many distressing problems. Aside from the extreme embarrassment, it’s a sensitive subject for family caregivers and health care professionals to address. Even so, there are ways to safely manage incontinence. Keep in mind, appropriate treatment often requires a thorough medical evaluation and understanding of multiple factors at play.
The National Institute of Medicine offers a free paper that can give you and your loved one a better understanding of the various types of incontinence and its causes. Below are some tips on how to best manage your aging loved one’s incontinence.
Start an honest conversation
A positive step to take is to let your loved know that they don’t have to deal with the problem alone. Acknowledge the problem and let them know there are ways to treat incontinence. However, this may be difficult with a senior suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia or other cognitive difficulties.
Find the cause
Whether it’s urinary incontinence, bowel incontinence or both, your loved one should visit the doctor to identify the cause. This will ensure proper treatment is implemented. In some cases there are even incontinence remedies.
Allow easy access to the bathroom
Even if someone is suffering from incontinence, they’ll likely still choose to use the bathroom even if they’re wearing adult incontinence aids. Make sure the the path to the bathroom is free of obstacles such as furniture and clutter. Your loved one should also consider installing handrails in the bathroom and wearing clothing that is easy to remove so that using the bathroom is an easy experience.
Change in diet and routine
Be aware that certain foods and drinks — e.g., caffeinated beverages, alcohol and spicy foods — can trigger incontinence. Also, establishing a regular bathroom schedule for your loved one can often alleviate many of the symptoms of incontinence.
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