Dementia care calls for both empathy and creativity to manage a range of challenging behaviors and effects, and that’s especially true when it comes to incontinence, something that is quite common in Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. These tried-and-true strategies can be helpful in minimizing the impact of incontinence and reducing an escalation of emotions in someone you love with dementia.
- Pick your words very carefully. Rather than talking about incontinence products as “diapers,” for instance, call them “briefs” or “pull-up underwear.” Nevertheless, take the cue from your senior loved one; if she or he chooses to utilize the term “diapers” and appears to be at ease with that, then follow along.
- Remove regular underwear from the senior’s dresser. To avoid confusion or resistance to wearing incontinence products, ensure that those are the only option in his or her dresser.
- Test out assorted products. With different brands, sizes, and absorbency levels on the market, it may take some time and experience to discover one that is most comfortable and effective.
- Use backup products overnight. To help stop the senior from waking up throughout the night from incontinence-related issues, try inserting booster pads inside the absorbent underwear, and use products marked for heaviest coverage. Waterproof mattress protectors and disposable bed pads may also be extremely helpful.
- Ensure quick access to the bathroom. Conduct a walk-through of the areas the senior loved one spends time in to evaluate how easy it is for her or him to make it to the bathroom. Specifically, get rid of any clutter, cords, or throw rugs in the senior’s walking path to prevent falls.
- If an accident does happen… Maintain a relaxed demeanor in order not to hurt (or further upset) the older adult, and say something such as, “It looks like something may have spilled on your pants; let’s get you some clean clothes,” or “It seems like your pants are wet; that happens occasionally.”
- Address reluctance to keep products on. For older adults who regularly attempt to remove incontinence products, first see whether you can uncover the reason why. If uncomfortableness is an issue, try various kinds of products for one that might be more comfortable. Or your senior loved one could be trying to change if there is a feeling of wetness.
In all instances, watch the older adult’s skin for indications of rash or irritation, and contact his or her medical professional if noted.
For more care tips on managing incontinence for seniors with dementia, or to find out more about Home Sweet Home In-Home Care’s dependable, senior services in Kalamazoo and the surrounding area, reach out to us at (269) 763-5350 in Paw Paw, (269) 849-9252 in St. Joseph, (269) 373-5444 in Kalamazoo or (269) 963-9888 in Battle Creek and ask about an in-home consultation.