In the later stages of Alzheimer’s, it is common to experience incontinence problems. There are many ways to manage Dementia and Incontinence, however, you may have to give your loved one more of a hand if they experience symptoms of Alzheimer’s. How you help your loved one with incontinence can affect their dignity and overall well-being. Consider the following approaches by the Alzheimer’s Association when assisting a senior who is experiencing incontinence:
Tips for Managing Dementia and Incontinence
- Accidents can embarrass your loved one. Preserve their dignity with the language you use. Instead of saying “you wet yourself,” say “it’s an accident, it can happen to anyone.”
- Don’t scold or make them feel guilty for something they can’t control.
- Respect their need for privacy as much as possible.
- Encourage your loved one to tell you when they need to use the bathroom.
- Stay on alert for nonverbal cues such as restlessness, unusual facial expressions, sounds, sudden silence, or hiding in corners.
- Learn their trigger words or phrases for needing to use the bathroom. For example, some people may use phrases such as “I can’t find the light.”
- Communication challenges can increase in the late stage of dementia.
- It can be beneficial to remind them to use the bathroom on a regular schedule (every two hours).
Make it easy to find the bathroom and use the toilet
- Keep the bathroom door open so they can see the toilet.
- Put up a picture of a toilet on the bathroom door.
- Paint the bathroom door a color that contrasts the wall.
- Modify the toilet to make it safe and easy to use. Examples include installing grab bars on both sides of the toilet, using night lights to light up their way to the bathroom, and even raising the toilet seat.
- Observe and take note of your loved one’s bathroom schedule.
- Plan a reminder to use the bathroom before their usual time.
- Set a regular bathroom schedule. For instance, you can help them go to the bathroom first thing every morning, every two hours, after meals, and right before they go to sleep.
- Identify when their accidents happen so you can plan accordingly. For example, if they happen every two hours, you can make sure to get them to the bathroom before that time.
- Check the toilet to see if your loved one has used it.
- Help them wipe and flush if needed.
- Wash sensitive skin areas regularly.
- Encourage fluid intake throughout the day, however, decrease the fluid intake before they go to bed.
- Limit drinks that can trigger urination, such as cola, coffee, or tea.
Adjust and Innovate
- Choose clothing that is convenient to remove and clean.
- Consider using adult diapers or padded undergarments. They can be helpful when your loved one is in a place where getting to a toilet is difficult.
- Give them enough time to empty their bladder and bowels.
- If your loved one faces difficulty urinating, try running water in the sink or giving them a drink for stimulation.
- Use incontinence pads, waterproof mattress covers, or both on their bed so they can avoid fluid soaking their mattress.
Addressing fecal incontinence together can help your loved one avoid further health risks and inconveniences. 1+1 Cares provides more information on caring for a senior with incontinence problems here.
1+1 Cares is a referral agency that works for clients and caregivers. We match caregivers with clients and inform them of your requirements. We work for you so you and your loved one can have a safe, enjoyable caregiving experience.