Incontinence is a common health issue for senior adults, yet it can sometimes be a difficult topic to address as a family caregiver. When incontinence occurs, it is important to avoid letting panic take over because there are many things that can be done to alleviate a senior’s discomfort and potential embarrassment. In addition to a physician’s recommended treatment plan that could include medications or surgery, here are some everyday lifestyle strategies that can be used to help manage this condition.
- Increase Access to the Bathroom – For some senior adults, incontinence is preceded by an urgent need to use the restroom, yet they are unable to make it on time. If mobility is an issue, make sure that the senior has a clear path to the restroom and the appropriate devices to ensure their ability to safely maneuver onto the toilet. If you provide live-in care for an aging parent or loved one, consider strategically placing bed pans and portable toilets in the living area to increase their chances of making it in time.
- Treat Underlying Medical Conditions – Obesity, urinary tract infections and poor pelvic muscle tone can all contribute to incontinence. Seniors should be encouraged to stay physically active and eat a healthy diet to manage their weight. Older adults who experience a sudden bout of incontinence should be assessed by their physician to rule out an infection. Those who struggle with stress incontinence may also benefit from doing Kegel exercises every day.
- Keep a Journal – Sometimes, incontinence follows a regular pattern that can be identified by keeping a daily journal. For example, some seniors may experience incontinence if they drink during the two hours before bedtime. Alternatively, others may struggle with incontinence when they laugh, sneeze or exercise. Keeping track of when and how the issue occurs can help families to implement the appropriate strategies such as squeezing the pelvic floor before lifting an object. If you only provide part-time home care for your aging loved one, encourage them to keep up with journal entries in your absence.
- Avoid Constipation and Triggers – Many people who struggle with incontinence attempt to treat the problem by limiting their fluids. However, this often establishes a cycle of dehydration and constipation that will make incontinence worse. Instead, encourage senior adults to drink their recommended amount of fluids each day and eat a diet that is full of fiber. It is also important to avoid known triggers for incontinence such as caffeine and alcoholic beverages.
By making a few simple lifestyle changes, many instances of incontinence can be managed easily at home. If you need assistance caring for your aging parent or loved one, contact Home Care Assistance of Vancouver. We are leading senior care provider in Vancouver with a team of highly trained, experienced and compassionate caregivers who can help with personal care activities including bathing, dressing, grooming and incontinence, medication reminders, transportation and much more. Schedule a complimentary consultation today by calling a Case Manager at 778-279-3634.