More than 50% of seniors have some form of incontinence or the other, and for most of them, it can be embarrassing, uncomfortable, or messy. These accidents make it a significant cause of stress for seniors and caregivers. Many companies have been pioneering disposable incontinence products for the past several years. The incontinence products are a boon for the user and incontinence caregivers.
Here, we share some helpful tips that may assist an incontinence caregiver who attends to reduce the stress associated with incontinence.
Talk with their doctor
Despite popular misconceptions, incontinence is not a normal part of aging. Ordinary and treatable medical conditions often cause it. If you notice ongoing signs of incontinence, get a thorough physical examination to determine if they have a urinary tract infection or other treatable conditions. Several brands, such as Attends, have made life easier by manufacturing disposable incontinence products.
Watch out for their diet
As an incontinence caregiver, you must know that many everyday food items and beverages can trigger incontinence. Most of these triggers and bladder irritants are some of the widespread things that you otherwise would ignore. The following items listed below are known to trigger bouts of incontinence.
- Too little fluids
- Intake of excess fluids
- Tea, Coffee, and carbonated drinks – with and without caffeine
- Acidic fruits such as grapefruits, lemons, oranges, and limes, and acidic fruit juices
- Spicy foods
- Tomatoes and tomato-based products, including ketchup and tomato puree
- Sugar, honey, and artificial synthetic sweeteners.
You must encourage them to drink adequate fluids and minimize trigger foods and drinks. Each individual’s bladder is not sensitive to trigger foods or beverages. If any of these items are part of their regular diet, try removing or reducing one thing at a time to improve their incontinence symptoms.
Choose clothing that’s easy to change and wash
To make incontinence care easier by reducing e accidents, you need to choose to dress carefully. Outfits that are tough to wear and remove are a significant cause of accidents and make it difficult to get cleaned up afterward. Trousers with an elastic waistband are quicker and easier to pull down than pants with a regular zip fly. That will help you get to the toilet quickly and hopefully prevent an accident. Additionally, it is easier to manage elastic waistbands if you’re helping to undress or dress them. Avoid clothes with multiple fastenings, tight openings, tricky zippers, no button-fly pants, and difficult clasps.
You may need adaptive clothing that’s specifically designed for easy access. There are various adaptive clothing designs readily available in the market that are stylish, discreet, and easy to get on and off. If you are a caregiver for Alzheimer’s or dementia, you must have seen that your patient tends to take off their clothes or incontinence briefs inappropriately. The back-zip jumpsuits, which look like different tops and bottoms, are a great option in such scenarios. They are a one-piece jumpsuit that is tough to take off without help.
Stick to a toilet schedule
A regular daily routine will be helpful for seniors, especially those with Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. It is an appropriate method to get seniors’ bodily functions accustomed to visiting the toilet at certain times. It would help if you created a restroom schedule by asking your senior adult to use the restroom at regular intervals. Even if the urge is not there, one must try to get their body accustomed. You could begin with asking them to go once every 2 hours. You can experiment to find the timing that works best for their body by trial and error method and then stick to it. In a short matter of time, their body will get used to the schedule, consequently reducing the chances of accidents.
Waterproof the furniture
One of the most significant issues caregivers face is the act of Cleaning up. Accidents leave a smelly mess on adults’ clothes and furniture. You can dump bedding and clothes into the washing machine for cleaning. However, the stressful and tiring part is the cleaning and deodorizing mattresses and daily furniture use. It would help if you waterproofed the furniture in such a scenario, especially the ones your older adult uses the most. This would enable us to stay ahead and make cleanup after a mess easier. Leaks are so common that it requires multiple layers to protect these surfaces truly. It would help if you use a fabric protector spray for couches and easy chairs and then layer it with waterproof sofa covers, seat protectors, or extra-large absorbent bed pads for the mattresses. Keep disinfectants, odor removers, air sanitizer to eliminate lingering odor and keep rooms smelling fresh.
As the caregiver and care receiver, incontinence can cause embarrassment and shame. Treating accidents as a normal part of life will help to ease the stress. Reassuring them that it’s OK after an accident and going ahead with the cleanup after diffusing a tense situation. While still being respectful, always try to find ways to see the silly side of things and encourage laughter.
Keep an incontinence care kit handy so that both of you can move around easily and freely. The incontinence care kit should contain cleanup essentials that will keep you always prepared in case of an accident. This bag should contain extra incontinence briefs or pads, wipes for personal cleansing, and a change of clothes and socks. However, these small and simple tips go a long way to keep the stress associated with incontinence caregiving.
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