If you are caring for a loved one with incontinence, you know that it is often just as difficult on the person suffering from lack of bladder control as it is on the person caring for them. Not only are they wet and uncomfortable but they are often too embarrassed to say anything, making it hard for you to know that it’s time to change them and the linens if they are in bed. Here are a few tips that should make it easier on you and your loved one suffering from incontinence.
1. Talk to Your Loved One’s Doctor
One of the main misconceptions about incontinence is that it is a normal part of aging. This isn’t the case at all. Sometimes poor bladder control could be the result of a Urinary Tract Infection, or it could be weak pelvic floor muscles, both of which are treatable to some extent. However, it could also be disorientation as a result of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia in which there really isn’t a treatment. As the caregiver, you need to know the difference and exactly what they are suffering from.
2. Keep a Supply of Incontinence Focused Products
There are several incontinence focused products you will want to have on hand at all times. Of course, you know there are adult disposable underwear options and incontinence pants, but did you know there are also reusable bed pads that can protect the mattress as well as the linens? When those ‘accidents’ happen during times when your loved one is asleep, these will help until you have noticed they are wet and are able to clean them up and change them.
3. Make Light of the Issue
Sometimes, injecting a bit of humor helps your loved one feel less embarrassed. When you are dealing with aging parents, you can often laugh and make a small joke. Some adult children of aging parents say you know they are trying to get back at you for all your diapers they had to change over time. Here, however, it pays to be careful not to push it too hard. Sometimes your loved one is extremely sensitive, and this tactic might not go over as planned. Read the situation before injecting too much humor into the situation.
4. Monitor What They Eat and Drink
While you don’t want your loved one to become dehydrated, you also don’t want to give them too much liquid either. You have probably seen nurses in hospitals chart the amount of liquid patients are taking in while also measuring output in the bedpans. You may not have bedpans at home, but you will know right away if you increase their intake of liquids and have more ‘accidents’ as a result. Some foods can cause incontinence as well, so make sure your loved one is getting foods and beverages in amounts to keep them healthy without giving them too much in the process.
Finally, it also helps to have regular times that you take your loved one to the restroom. Just like when you are giving them their medicine, you will want to schedule times to bring them to the toilet. Sometimes their body becomes accustomed to a schedule for relieving itself and this can help immensely. However, in the end, the best thing you can do is to keep it light. Undue tension can cause stress urination and that just leads to more problems. It’s not something they would choose for themselves, so always bear that in mind.