Incontinence in the elderly – What does it mean and is it treatable?

Incontinence is a common problem, especially in the elderly, and means involuntary urination. However, it is a delicate topic that is not to be neglected and, fortunately, has become more and more discussed in recent years. A variety of medications are already available on the market but there is still no definite proven effect for them. In the past, surgery was used to fight incontinence, but this was the ultimate method of treatment, and it often did not lead to the desired result.

Today, however, we will not talk about surgery and medication, but we will get into the shoes of those of you who care for an adult relative with this problem and we will give you some tips from the kitchen of Blocks Adult Care. As you may have guessed, the Blocks team faces problems of this kind daily. They are unpleasant not only for the elderly residents or patients, but also for their caregiver who tries to minimize accidents and clean up afterwards. To reduce stress and confusion, both for the elderly and the team that cares for them, we will share 7 useful tips for caring for incontinence.

  1. Talk to the doctor responsible for your loved one or relative

A simple first step is to ask for a doctor’s opinion before concluding that this is incontinence. This problem is not a normal part of aging. It often happens as a result of another disease, taking medication, etc. So, if you notice involuntary leakage of urine, take your loved one for a thorough examination to determine if there is an infection or other treatable condition.

  1. Be careful with some food and drinks

Did you know that some very common food and drinks can cause incontinence? They irritate the bladder without you even suspecting that they may be the cause.

Some of them are, for example: coffee, tea or carbonated drinks; some sour fruits, such as oranges, grapefruits, lemons, spicy foods, alcohol, chocolate, tomatoes and tomato products (such as ketchup), sugar, honey.

Not every bladder will be sensitive to the same foods, but you can try to minimize the one that is consumed most often and check if there is a change in the symptoms of incontinence.

  1. Make a toilet schedule for them

Regular, scheduled daily life is good for the elderly, especially those with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. A schedule is a good way to get their bodily functions to working at certain times.

For example, ask your loved one or relative to use the toilet every 1 or 2 hours. Experiment to find the time that is best for their body and then stick to it.

Soon, their bodies will get used to the schedule and the chances of an “accident” will decrease.

  1. Waterproof mattress, sofa and chairs

Cleaning is unpleasant in caring for incontinence. Unintentional leaks, you guessed it, also leave and unpleasant odor, especially if you haven’t cleaned in time. Then, this becomes a problem for your furniture at home. Yes, you can throw bed linen in the washing machine right away, but it is tiring and stressful to try to clean something that is not easy to clean even under normal conditions, such as mattresses or sofas.

Therefore, we advise you to “waterproof” the furniture or to get waterproof ones, especially a mattress and others, which your adult relative uses most often.

  1. Use light humor to dispel the confusion on both sides

We believe that it is difficult to “have fun” with someone else’s trouble, so approach delicately, but try to get out of the unpleasant situation for both of you. Treat incontinence as a normal part of life and you will relieve the tension in you and on the other hand the shame of your loved one or relative. Assure them that everything is fine and clean calmly without rushing and getting angry. You can say, “Don’t worry, this happens to a lot of people, look, they mention it on TV. Let me help you change into clean, comfortable clothes.”

Gentle humor, if appropriate, can also be used in the situation. For example: “Now you have the perfect excuse to put on your favorite pants again, don’t you?” Laugh. It always heals.

  1. Choose clothes that are easy to take off and wash

To reduce accidents and make care easier, it may be time to update their wardrobe.

Clothing that is difficult to remove can lead to “accidents” and makes it difficult to clean up afterwards. For example, use pants with an elastic belt, which are much faster and easier to put on and take off than those with zippers or buttons. This will also help your loved one get to the toilet faster and possibly avoid the unpleasant situation of dropping.

  1. Seek help from professionals

Last but not least, seek help if necessary. Not everyone can handle another person’s personal hygiene, no matter how close they are. Changing clothes and cleaning can be exhausting, unpleasant and even repulsive. Therefore, you can consider a place where there is the necessary equipment (such as waterproof ergonomic beds, for example, adapted to the needs of adults), a team that responds quickly and with a guaranteed high level of care. For example, in Blocks Adult Care, patients and residents can be placed on special pads on the bed mattress that sends a signal when they get out of bed. The pads also have a moisture sensor that shows when the mattress is wet. There is also a call system with which residents or patients can notify if there is any problem and a member of the team will respond immediately.

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