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What to Do When Dementia Leads to Incontinence

woman sitting drinking orange juice

Incontinence is a frequent problem for those with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Dementia care involves both compassion and creativity to manage an assortment of complex behaviors and effects, and that’s especially true in relation to incontinence, something that is very frequent in Alzheimer’s along with other forms of dementia. These tried-and-true strategies are often helpful in lessening the impact of incontinence and preventing an escalation of emotions in someone you adore with Alzheimer’s.

  • Pick your words carefully. As opposed to describing incontinence products as “diapers,” for example, call them “briefs” or “pull-up underwear.” Having said that, take the cue from your loved one; if she or he chooses to make use of the expression “diapers” and appears to be comfortable with that, then follow along.
  • Clean out regular underwear from the older adult’s dresser. To avoid misunderstandings or opposition to wearing incontinence products, make certain that those are the only choice in his or her wardrobe.
  • Experiment with a variety of products. With different brands, sizes, and absorbency levels on the market, it could take some time and experience to find one that is most comfortable and effective.
  • Use backup products overnight. To help prevent the senior from waking up throughout the night from incontinence-related issues, try placing booster pads inside the absorbent underwear, and use products marked for heaviest coverage. Waterproof mattress protectors and disposable bed pads are usually also extremely helpful.
  • Ensure quick access to the bathroom. Complete a walk-through of the areas the senior loved one spends time in to estimate how easy it really is for him or her to make it to the bathroom. Most notably, take away any clutter, cords, or throw rugs in the senior’s walking path to prevent falls.
  • If an accident does occur… Maintain a relaxed demeanor in order not to hurt (or further upset) the older adult, and say something like, “It looks like something might have spilled on your pants; let’s get you some clean clothes,” or “It looks like your pants are wet; that happens every now and then.”
  • Address hesitancy to keep products on. For senior loved ones who consistently make an effort to remove incontinence products, first see if you can determine the particular reason why. If uncomfortableness is an issue, try several types of products for one that may be more comfortable. Or the senior may be trying to change if there’s a feeling of moisture.

In all instances, keep an eye on the older adult’s skin for signs and symptoms of rash or irritation, and contact her or his medical doctor if noted.

For more care tips about when dementia leads to incontinence, or to find out more about Relevar Home Care’s trusted, professional dementia care in St. Clair County, MI or throughout the Detroit area, call us at 888-493-3513.