|10 tips for helping a loved one cope with dementia and incontinence.|
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, incontinence can be caused by confusion, memory problems, medications, stress, obstacles to reaching the bathroom, difficult-to-remove clothing and more. Contributing medical conditions include constipation, prostate problems, urinary tract infections, diabetes, Parkinson’s and stroke.
When patients have trouble recognizing physical urges or remembering where a bathroom is located, it can contribute to bladder or bowel incontinence. Here are 10 tips from the Alzeimer’s Association for helping a loved one cope with dementia and incontinence:
1. Be supportive, reassuring and matter-of-fact to help reduce feelings of embarrassment. Respect the need for privacy and dignity as much as possible.
2. Provide regular reminders of where a bathroom is located. Keep the bathroom door open so the toilet is visible.
3. Ensure the path to the bathroom is well lit and free of obstacles. Clear the path to the bathroom by moving furniture, throw rugs and cords. Use nightlights to safely point the way.
4. Provide visual cues, such as painting the bathroom door a contrasting color and posting a toilet sign on the door. You can even add glow-in-the-dark tape to mark the path.
5. Make the toilet safe, comfortable and easy to use by adding a raised toilet seat and grab bars. Fortunately, today there are many affordable, easy-to-install bathroom safety products available.
6. Ensure clothing is easy to remove, with no complicated belts or buttons. Tugging on clothing is a nonverbal cue indicating a need to use the toilet; others are restlessness, facial expressions, pacing, sudden silence or hiding behind furniture.
7. Encourage a loved one to cut back on fluids before bedtime or long trips, but never withhold fluids, which can lead to dangerous dehydration.
8. Keep an incontinence journal. If you know accidents happen at certain times, you can plan ahead and remind your loved one to use the bathroom before it’s urgent.
9. Encourage a regular schedule. Help your loved one to the bathroom first thing in the morning, every two hours during the day, immediately after meals and just before bedtime.
10. Stock up on absorbent underwear or adult diapers, pads for beds and chairs, skin care products formulated for those with incontinence, and mobility tools that make it easier to reach the bathroom in time. All of these and more are available right here on The CareGiver Partnership website, or call us at 1-800-985-1353 for personal service from our all-female staff of Product Specialists.
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