The Alzheimer’s-Incontinence Relationship and Tips for Coping

by Dianna Malkowski, Physician Assistant & Nutritionist

The Obama administration last week outlined the National Alzheimer’s Plan, a call for scientists to find ways to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease by 2025, as reported by CBS News. Incontinence is often a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease and there are ways to manage the condition while we wait for treatment options.
Because Alzheimer’s is a neurological disease, patients often have trouble recognizing physical urges or remembering where a bathroom is located, which can contribute to bladder or bowel incontinence. Certain medications also relax the bladder muscles or cause increased urination.

                                   Watch the video - how to make a home safer for seniors

Here are tips from The CareGiver Partnership and the Alzheimer’s Association for helping a loved one cope with dementia and incontinence:
  • Remind the person where the bathroom is located, and encourage a regular schedule.
  • Ensure the path to the bathroom is clear of obstacles and well lit. Provide visual cues by painting the bathroom door a contrasting color and posting a toilet sign on the door.
  • Increase bathroom safety with grab bars, a raised toilet seat and nightlights.
  • Provide clothing that is easy to remove, with no complicated belts or buttons.
  • Use an Incontinence Product Finder to choose disposable undergarments by style, selecting a type your loved one can easily get on and off.
  • Explain the importance of keeping skin clean, moisturized and protected, using products made to prevent breakdown and infection.
  • Protect bedding and furniture with disposable pads.
  • Never withhold fluids, which can lead to dangerous dehydration, but encourage your loved one to cut back before bedtime. 

                              What the video:  How to choose the right incontinence product

For helpful links on managing Alzheimer’s or incontinence, visit The CareGiverPartnership Resources page.

Dianna Malkowski is a Board Certified Physician Assistant and Mayo Clinic trained nutritionist specializing in diabetes, cancer, wound healing, therapeutic diets and nutrition support. She serves on the board of professional advisors for The CareGiver Partnership and enjoys working with patients and caregivers alike. Ask Dianna a question.


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CareGiver Partnership said...

Thank you for your comments. We try to research and write about topics that are most important to family caregivers.

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