While not unusual in older adults, urinary incontinence is a challenging condition to manage, impacting daily life in many ways, and often leading to reduced self-confidence and assurance along with the reduction of enjoyable activities.
Yet it’s crucial to understand that bladder control problems are not something that must simply be accepted as a normal aspect of aging. Figuring out the reason behind the problem can result in a successful treatment option. Contributing factors to bladder control problems include:
- A urinary tract or vaginal infection
- Weakened or overactive bladder muscles
- Weakened pelvic floor muscles or pelvic organ prolapse
- Nerve damage from conditions including Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, or MS
- Enlarged prostate
- Medical conditions which make it harder to get to the restroom in time, such as arthritis
An older adult experiencing issues with management of incontinence should visit with the doctor to go over symptoms, medications, and health history. She or he may recommend blood and urine tests in addition to testing to find out how effectively the bladder is emptying. Keeping a daily journal ahead of the appointment can be helpful, making note of the time each day when urinating and when leaking urine.
After the cause for the incontinence has been established, treatment plans can include:
- Oral medications which can tighten muscles or help the bladder empty fully
- An injected medication into the area surrounding the urethra
- A low-dose estrogen cream
- Nerve stimulation around the bladder
- A urethral insert or pessary in order to prevent leaking
- Surgery in the event that incontinence is caused by blockage or a change in the bladder’s position
In addition, some incontinence issues may be relieved by trying:
- Kegel (pelvic muscle) exercises
- Timed urination, emptying the bladder on a set schedule
- Lifestyle changes, such as for instance eliminating caffeine and alcohol, stopping smoking, and losing weight
Frequently, those diagnosed with urinary incontinence incorrectly believe that they ought to limit their fluid intake. It is crucial to maintain proper hydration and to recognize that lower hydration levels result in more concentrated urine, which in fact could make urinating more uncomfortable and increase problems with incontinence. Plain water is always the best option, but if the senior prefers, try adding flavoring such as a slice of cucumber, lemon or lime.
For a senior with Alzheimer’s disease, particularly in the later stages, incontinence is very common, and can be helped through:
- Making it simpler to access the restroom by ensuring pathways are clear and there’s satisfactory lighting
- Eliminating coffee, soda, and tea from the older adult’s diet, as these increase urination (but ensuring your loved one drinks plenty of water)
- Taking regular, frequent bathroom breaks
- Choosing clothing that is simple to remove
- Trying out different types of incontinence care products to find one that is most comfortable
For trusted Des Moines elder care, At-Home Care Company’s aging care experts are trained and experienced in incontinence care, and are always available to help give recommendations in addition to in-home care to assist with personal care needs, discreetly and always with the utmost respect. Contact us online or give us a call at (515) 292-2650 to request a complimentary in-home consultation to learn more about our Des Moines elder care. View our full service area.