Summer is now officially here and the increase in temperature can be quite stressful for those living with incontinence.
The sudden change in climate can lead to certain struggles for the ones with incontinence and the ones caring for their family member.
While people are still under the impact of the global pandemic and thinking about the reopening of their state, many states have already opened hiking trails and parks for the ones who wish to spend quality time outdoors.
Seniors planning to spend a good time outdoors may face challenges due to limited access to restrooms. Apart from this, the fewer layers of summer clothing can make hiding an accident harder.
These concerns may contribute to the daily struggles of the elderly and they may avoid certain situations, which ultimately leads to isolation and sometimes anxiety.
When we talk about preventive measures, there’re certain ways how caregivers can help minimize stress and improve health conditions this summer.
Let’s discuss the ways caregivers can effectively help the elderly in managing incontinence.
Seek Medical Attention
Incontinence isn’t permanent in most individuals and can be due to some underlying issues, which can be treated.
It’s crucial to identify the factors causing the instances. Whether it’s a urinary tract infection or enlarged prostate, you must seek medical help if you’re not sure why it’s suddenly causing issues for your dear ones.
Medication and certain changes in their routine including urination habits can surprisingly help you in minimizing the instances and in many of the cases, it’s completely cured.
As a caregiver, you need to take care of the timely medication of your seniors, which may eventually contribute to resolving many of their issues.
Since anxiety and embarrassment are linked to incontinence, you should plan things early. Going outside with the elderly with incontinence requires adequate preparedness.
Planning trips and outings not only minimizes the risk of an accident but eventually helps the seniors in enjoying it without any embarrassment or stress.
Here are the things that you should consider before you plan an outing with your dear ones with incontinence:
- Check the destination for the availability of restrooms
- Ensure availability of restrooms during the drive as well
- Schedule bathroom breaks in advance beginning your journey
- Frequent urine breaks after a couple of hours of driving can help to minimize the risk of accidental leakage
- Carry the necessary supplies & products that may be required while traveling
Caregivers must consider these aspects especially if they’re not very experienced in handling a senior with this health condition.
Keep them Hydrated
Staying hydrated is a crucial part of managing incontinence in elderly individuals. The warm summer months may increase the chance of getting dehydrated, which can make the situation worse.
Having plenty of water is necessary throughout the day, not just drinking a large amount at once. Your dear ones may be reluctant to consume an adequate amount of fluids but it’s your responsibility to ensure they’re hydrated enough to minimize the risk of urinary tract infection.
Elderly individuals with past issues of incontinence may face severe infection of the bladder if they aren’t hydrated properly. Keep reminding them about the risk factors associated with dehydration to ensure they consume an ample amount of water throughout the day.
For those with severe incontinence, it may be tough to attempt trips of any lengths as it becomes quite challenging to manage frequent events. But for the ones with moderate stages, these trips can be managed by considering certain aspects.
Stock up on Supplies
Incontinence in seniors isn’t something new. Caregivers should be well informed about the triggers and must ensure they have an adequate of incontinence undergarments.
While most of the elderly prefer a particular type or brand, it’s equally important to purchase plenty of them.
Furthermore, one should be well prepared in advance of an accident. Spare clothes and cleaning towels should always be kept ready, especially if you’re planning a trip.
A waterproof pad can also be quite helpful when you know you can’t avoid an accident. Make them sit on the pad, which makes it easier to deal with an embarrassing situation.
Look for Triggers
The next important thing that every caregiver needs to know is the triggers that can lead to unexpected events.
In most seniors, the consumption of caffeine or alcohol instead of plenty of water can be the real culprit.
Alcohol or caffeine can increase inflammation in the bladder making them feel the need to urinate more often. Furthermore, carbonated drinks may also irritate the bladder and worsen the symptoms.
Here’s the list of some other common triggers in the elderly:
- Heart & blood pressure medications
- UTI’s (Urinary tract infections)
You should take adequate measures to minimize their consumption of trigger fluids and increase water intake to shun any chance of dehydration.
Focus on Healthy Diet
Healthy eating habits go a long way in managing incontinence in seniors. Timely meals full of fiber along with healthy carbohydrates can help minimize events and improve bladder health.
Avoiding spicy foods, caffeine, and dairy will also aid in reducing the urge to urinate often and decrease the likelihood of incontinence events.
As a caregiver, you must ensure that the time of meals is fixed and you plan restroom visits accordingly for maintaining a healthy routine.
Gentle Reminders for Dementia/ Alzheimer’s Patients
Caring for the elderly with Dementia or Alzheimer’s isn’t easy, and incontinence could make things worse for a caregiver.
The only way to minimize the events is to keep on reminding your dear ones to use the restroom every two to three hours. It’s a great idea to ask them frequently, whether they wish to go to the bathroom or not.
It’s always a good idea to check whether the toilet was used or not so that are forewarned about an upcoming event.
Urinary incontinence in seniors is common and stressful, but often treatable. While most of the elderly are at a higher risk of incontinence, it’s not an obvious part of aging.
You must consider evaluating your dear ones by a physician to identify the underlying issues that are causing the trouble.
Proper medication in most of the cases is proven to be fruitful as it eliminates incontinence and improves bladder health.
On the other hand, both elderly men and women can consider adult diapers that can be quite helpful in managing accidents.
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