Incontinence may be an issue with dementia
Loss of bladder or bowel control often becomes an issue for those with Alzheimers Dementia. My Mom never had this problem but I did notice that as her memory failed, she found it more difficult to make it to the bathroom in a timely fashion and did have accidents. Many friends in the “Group Home” where mom lived the last few years of her life did have problems with incontinence and/or bowel control on a regular basis.
Below are a few check lists for discovering the problem and helping in prevention and maintenance of this problem.
First, you need to learn whether:
- The patient is having a difficult time making it to the bathroom in-time, before their clothes are soiled
- They are not recognizing/or are ignoring the urge to go to the bathroom
- They have a medical issue that prevents them from using the bathroom
Due to medical considerations, their physician needs to be consulted about the problem. There are any number of medical conditions that could cause this issue; urinary tract infections or prostate issues, etc.
On the other hand, there may also be medications the doctor can prescribe to help with this issue, especially if the patient is having problems holding it until they get to the bathroom. So don’t hesitate to talk with your physician as a first line of defense against incontinence.
Sometimes in later stages of memory-loss:
- The Alzheimer’s or Dementia patient may forget what the urge to go to the bathroom means
- They can also be confused about the location of the bathroom, especially if they are in new surroundings
- And eventually, the Alzheimer’s Patient may become bedridden
If it is not a medical issue, try to learn whether they simply had an accident because they didn’t make it in time, or if they no longer recognize the urge as a “call” to go to the bathroom.
Whatever the reason, be supportive to the patient so they feel free to talk about the issue. This can be difficult for patient and care giver alike, since we aren’t accustom to speaking about such private things in an “open” manner. You may need to offer reassurance so they won’t be embarrassed. This is certainly an embarrassing issue to share with anyone. So making them comfortable to speak about the issue is half the battle.
If they are new to your home or have changed residence recently be sure:
- They know where the bathroom is located
- Make sure the bathroom and any hallway is well-lit and clutter free
- Be certain that their clothing is easy to remove, buttons and zippers easy to reach and in fine working condition
- Perhaps they are insecure about standing or walking, you may add security bars or something to hold on to
- Be careful of throw rugs in the bathroom, it could be an easy way to trip and fall
If they are forgetting to go, here are a few ways you might encourage them to go:
- Encourage them to tell you when they need to use the bathroom
- Remind them often, maybe each time you use the restroom, make a gentle inquire about them
- If they don’t feel the urge to go, running water in the sink sometimes stimulates the person to go, or drinking water can be an encouragement also
When Mom and I went shopping, I always suggested a bathroom break before we left the house, “Mom, let’s go to the bathroom here, so we don’t have to stop later.” Knowing that I was going, Mom was reminded and would follow my lead easily.
If the problem persists, you may consider incontinence products. There are many available.
- The Adult briefs can be purchased in-bulk quantities at great savings. If you are traveling, don’t forget a change of clothes also
- If they have nighttime issues, be certain to keep a vinyl mattress-cover on the bed so that changing the linens won’t soil the mattress too
- Allow ample time if they are using a bed-pan or you are assisting them. If they are rushed, they may not be completely finished
- You may need to help them wipe or pull their clothes back into place
- Encourage them, or help with washing sensitive skin areas and apply powder or ointment to prevent irritated skin or infections
A reliable source for Incontinence Supplies is AMAZON. You can order large Quantities without worrying how you’ll get them home from the store. Amazon offers front door delivery and most often free delivery. They also carry a wide variety of sizes for Men and Women. They are no longer bulky diapers, but discreetly lined, adjustable Underwear.
Depend Guards for Men Convenience Pack Maximum Absorbency, 52-CountTENA Serenity Overnight Pads, Full Coverage, 30 CountPoise Ultimate Absorbency Pads, Long Length, 45 CountTranquility Premium OverNight Pull-On Diapers Size Medium Pk/18NorthShore Premium Blue Disposable Underpads (Chux), Large Size 23 x 36, Pk/25Sofnit 300 Washable Underpad,34×36 in., Pack/4Saddle Style Soaker Mattress Pad – Will Absorb 6 Cups of Liquid – Made in America (34Depend Underwear Silhouette Maximum Absorbency for Women, Small/Medium, 12 Count (Pack of 4)Wearever Ladyfem Unique – Dri Incontinence Panty – White LARGE – 3 / PK