As your loved one ages, they may experience issues with bladder control. This can include frequent trips to the bathroom, a feeling of urgency, leakage on the way to the bathroom, or complete loss of bladder control.
Although this may be an embarrassing or touchy subject for Mom or Dad, they should know that there are measures they can take to help manage incontinence and avoid accidents.
Here are 5 tips for managing incontinence issues:
Timed voiding - Have Mom make it a point to go to the bathroom every 2 hours whether she has the urge or not. Make sure she empties her bladder completely, but does not push as this tends to weaken pelvic muscles.
Healthy fluid intake - Sometimes, folks who urinate frequently will try to limit their fluid intake in order to reduce trips to the bathroom. This is NOT a good idea; it only makes matters worse by creating highly concentrated urine, which irritates the bladder and causes the sensation of urgency - not to mention that this increases chances of infection. A better method is to have Dad drink plenty of fluids during the day and limit fluids 2-3 hours before bed. Also, tell him to try and avoid caffeine as this tends to irritate the bladder.
Pelvic floor exercises - Also known as “kegel exercises,” these exercises involve contracting and relaxing the muscles of the pelvic floor that control continence. If your loved one isn’t sure if they are contracting the right muscles, have them stop the flow of urination during toileting to get a feel for which muscles they should be contracting.
Paper protection - This can include using maxi-pads, pull up diapers, or side tab fastening diapers. Maxi pads and pull ups are great if your loved one has occasional accidents or leakage. Side tab fastening diapers are usually a bit more bulky and more suitable for frequent accidents.
Use a bedside commode or urinal - If you loved one is frequently unable to make it to the bathroom in time (especially during the night), consider using a bedside commode or handheld urinal in the room where they spend most of their time or sleep.
Lastly, please don’t hesitate to discuss incontinence issues with Mom or Dad’s doctor as there many other treatment options - and it is best to address the issue in its earliest stages. We hope that you found this article helpful for managing your loved one’s incontinence for improved quality of life and independence!