The topic of senior incontinence is one most of us would prefer to avoid; yet when it impacts a loved one, it’s important to bring the issue to the surface in a way that affords the older adult the utmost dignity and respect, while ensuring they receive the help they need. The professional Phoenix caregivers at Nightingale Homecare share some helpful suggestions for both discussing incontinence concerns with a senior loved one, and minimizing its effects.
- Recognize that there’s a problem. While your first instinct may be to sweep the issue under the rug and act as if nothing’s wrong, denying the issue of incontinence due to embarrassment won’t allow the senior to get the help he or she needs.
- Broach the subject. Honesty is always the best policy, and facing the issue head-on allows both the senior and yourself the relief of having the subject out in the open so that it can be addressed. Admit any discomfort or embarrassment you may be feeling, but let the senior know that you’re in this together and will find the answers needed to help.
- Know that it’s not the senior’s fault. Family caregivers may feel as though the senior is being spiteful or intentional in having accidents, but it’s important to realize that in the vast majority of cases, it’s simply not within the senior’s control.
Once you’ve opened up and discussed the situation with the senior, it’s important to schedule an appointment for the senior with his or her doctor to determine the root cause. Incontinence is not a normal result of aging. While the physician is diagnosing and determining a treatment plan, these tactics can be helpful as well in minimizing accidents:
Incontinence Management Tips:
- Stick to a schedule. Using the toilet on a regular, scheduled basis can be extremely helpful. Track the number of times the senior needs to urinate over several days, and at what times of day, and use that information to set up a schedule to visit the restroom preemptively.
- Remove triggers. Certain types of foods and drinks consumed, such as those with caffeine, acid, or alcohol, can cause irritation to the bladder and trigger incontinence problems. Try modifying the senior’s diet to eliminate these triggers.
- Stay hydrated. Many seniors attempt to limit their fluid intake in an attempt to prevent incontinence; yet this actually has the reverse affect, and can result in a variety of other health complications. Ensure the senior drinks plenty of water throughout the day, reducing fluids only in the evening to prevent overnight accidents.
For more help in managing senior incontinence from Nightingale Homecare’s expert Phoenix caregivers and registered nurses, contact us any time. We can offer advice on the best incontinence products to help seniors feel comfortable and remain independent, provide transportation to medical appointments, ensure the senior maintains a healthy diet and stays hydrated, and so much more. Call us at (602) 504-1555 to learn more about our customized in-home care solutions for seniors.