Caring for an elderly loved one with incontinence can be a challenge. There are many factors you need to consider, such as how to keep the mattress dry and which absorbent brief will work best.
If your elderly mom is constantly getting up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom or experiencing sudden urges to go, it’s time for you to take matters into your own hand and help her regain control over her bladder:
- The first thing you should do is take your parent to the doctor. Yes, urinary incontinence is common in elderly adults, but it’s not normal. Incontinence can be caused by a variety of factors, including medication, diabetes and constipation. Make sure that your mother does not have a urinary tract infection or bladder infection. Ask the doctor what treatment options are available for your aging parent. Your mom may be asked to change her diet, drink more water, or kegel exercises.
- Take your mom on scheduled bathroom trips. If your mom experiences frequent urges to go, she can attempt to retrain her bladder by practicing timed voiding. Keep a bladder diary for three days to see when and how often your mom usually uses the bathroom. When you’ve noted your mom’s bathroom habits, create a schedule of when she should empty her bladder (ie. every two hours) to prevent incontinence accidents.
- Help your mom get to the bathroom safely by keeping the pathway to the toilet free of clutter. Also, make sure that she is wearing easy-to-remove clothing, such as pants with an elastic waist or snap buttons. If your mom is limited in mobility, encourage her to use a bedside commode, so she doesn’t wet herself or hurt herself while trying to rush to get to the bathroom.
- Next, you should protect your mom’s mattress with a waterproof mattress cover. Laundry day becomes more stressful when dealing with incontinence. Keeping the mattress dry helps you save money and helps keep your mother’s skin dry and healthy. You can also use a mattress underpad if you want another layer of protection.
- Lastly, if your mom is in need of adult diapers, be sure that the one she uses is the right fit and absorbency for her specific needs. Incontinence briefs come in a variety of styles and sizes – your mom may have to try out a few types before finding one that is comfortable and won’t leak. Adult diapers are best for those who are limited in mobility and who experience moderate to heavy incontinence. Washable underwear is ideal for people who can change themselves and who are looking for something more discreet.
As a caregiver, it is your responsibility to help keep your loved one feel safe and comfortable at all times – hopefully these tips will help you do just that.