Incontinence is something that is rarely discussed and often ignored, even when it causes issues on a regular basis. Yet it is an everyday problem for many seniors at some point in their lives, so let’s bring it out into the open.
First let’s get rid of one of the biggest mistakes – we’re not talking about diapers here. For anyone to mention that word to someone who’s dealing with incontinence, the term is unkind and disrespectful, and certainly a non-starter for a helpful solution. Most of us value our privacy about such an intimate issue, so anything we can do to preserve someone’s dignity is imperative.
Many women, especially those who’ve had children, have dealt with this occasionally in their adult lives. Most seniors realize that incontinence can be a medical problem to be solved, so like any other medical problem, the first thing to do is check with your medical provider about it. It may be as simple as a urinary tract infection (UTI), which can be cleared up with medications, or something more complex, like prostate problems. Sometimes exercises or surgical procedures are necessary. If fecal incontinence is the issue, it may require checking with a specialist for solutions.
If incontinence continues to be a problem, then looking into the use of adult briefs or similar products may be called for. That can often take care of it, but for those who deny a problem exists, it usually becomes a bigger problem. The smell of urine on their clothing may not be as noticeable to an older person, and sometimes the smell permeates the house or apartment.
Friends or family may be too embarrassed to point this out. Other seniors think that everyone will notice they are wearing these briefs and avoid them for that reason.
If you as a caregiver see this developing, check out the article below for its many specific and helpful suggestions. Left untreated and unacknowledged, incontinence can lead seniors to become more isolated and embarrassed than ever. If dementia prevents a senior from recognizing it, then caregivers need to helpfully step in or find a neutral party to help out.