Dementia and Incontinence: 7 Tips to Help
Dementia care necessitates both compassion and creativity to deal with a number of complex behaviors and effects, and that’s particularly true when someone is experiencing both dementia and incontinence. Unfortunately, incontinence occurs frequently in Alzheimer’s as well as other forms of dementia. These tried-and-true approaches from our experts in home care in Marin and the surrounding areas can help decrease the impact of incontinence and prevent an escalation of emotions in someone you love with Alzheimer’s.
- Choose your words very carefully. Rather than making reference to incontinence products as “diapers,” for example, call them “briefs” or “pull-up underwear.” Nonetheless, take the cue from your senior loved one; if she or he chooses to utilize the word “diapers” and seems more comfortable with that, then follow along.
- Remove regular underwear from the older adult’s dresser. In order to avoid confusion or resistance to wearing incontinence products, make certain that those are the only choice in his or her wardrobe.
- Try out various products. With different brands, sizes, and absorbency levels available, it could take some experimenting to come across one that is most comfortable and effective.
- Use backup products overnight. To help stop the senior from waking during 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 also extremely helpful.
- Ensure easy access to the bathroom. Perform a walk-through of the areas the older adult spends time in to estimate how easy it is for him or her to access the bathroom. Specifically, take away any clutter, cords, or throw rugs in the person’s walking path to protect against falls.
- If an accident does happen… Maintain a calm demeanor in order not to hurt (or further upset) the older adult, and say something such as, “It looks like something might have spilled on your pants; let’s get you some clean clothes,” or, “It seems like your pants are wet; that happens sometimes.”
- Address reluctance to keep products on. For older adults who regularly make an attempt to remove incontinence products, first see whether you can determine the reason why. If discomfort is a factor, try different types of products for one that may be more comfortable. Or your senior loved one might be trying to change if there’s a sense of wetness.
In all instances, check the senior’s skin for indications of rash or irritation, and contact his / her medical professional if noted.