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Alzheimer’s and Incontinence: How to Deal With an Affected Loved One

Alzheimer’s and Incontinence: How to Deal With an Affected Loved One

April 8, 2013

Alzheimer’s Disease is a condition characterized by memory loss and forgetfulness that gradually progresses over time until death. The disease has no cure and is most common in older, senior citizen-aged people. The onset of Alzheimer’s typically consists of unknowingly repeating questions or statements, short-term memory loss, confusion, and misplacing items. As the disease progresses, however, common symptoms are mood swings; forgetting names or people altogether and, in the later stages of Alzheimer’s, incontinence.

It’s painful enough to watched a loved one suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease and even more agonizing to see this loved one lose control of other bodily functions. But just because your loved one with Alzheimer’s is also experiencing incontinence doesn’t mean that they can’t still have their dignity. Here are some tips on how to handle a loved one that is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and experiencing incontinence:

  • Determine the cause: Is your loved one experiencing incontinence because he/she forgets where the bathroom is located? Is it due to possible side effects from medication? Might it be because of a stroke, infection, or other medical condition your loved one experienced, or is it just difficult for your loved one to get to the bathroom? Before you can solve the problem, you first have to find the root of it. For instance, if incontinence is a problem because of a medical condition like a UTI, measures can be taken to treat the problem so that it goes away. However, if incontinence is due to another issue you may have to take other measures.
  • Incontinence underwear: There may not be a fast, easy fix for your loved one’s incontinence issues. For example, if it’s a side effect from medication that your loved one is responding to positively, and then incontinence might be the sacrifice you make for an improved condition. If that’s the case, incontinence panties and incontinence briefs are a viable option. Not to be confused with adult diapers (which typically are disposable), Wearever’s incontinence underwear is comfortable, convenient, and protective and effective in managing incontinence issues.
  • Set a bathroom schedule: If your loved one is having trouble remembering where the bathroom is or is physically unable to make it to the bathroom on time, make a bathroom schedule. Set alarms and timers for when bathroom time is and include directions on how to get to the restroom where the timers are located. If your loved one is in a nursing home or assisted living facility, have a nurse stop in and assist with these bathroom times. Setting a bathroom schedule is an ideal way to resolve incontinence issues when there’s no underlying medical condition. However, until your loved one gets acclimated to the schedule, you may still want him/her wearing incontinence underwear.
  • Be supportive: Perhaps the biggest thing you have to remember when dealing with a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s and experiencing incontinence is that you need to be supportive. Your loved one is likely to feel embarrassed about the incontinence or feel as if he/she is losing control of their body. Make sure that you’re there for them and don’t make a scene or humiliate them if it occurs in your presence. Your loved one is already going through a lot, even without the incontinence. There’s no benefit to making them feel worse about it.

While seeing a loved one suffer from two conditions can be agonizing to watch, you have many options for making life more comfortable for your loved one. Please let Wearever know if there is products you wish we carried or let us know which products work best for you!

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