How to Manage Incontinence in People with Alzheimer's Disease

Author
Nobel Hygiene

Everyday tasks can become very challenging when one suffers from incontinence, if it is not managed on time, regardless of whether it is a result of Type 1 Diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes, pregnancy, childbirth, prostate surgery, or any other cause. Alzheimer’s disease is one of the conditions that can cause urinary incontinence. 

Unfortunately, it is impossible for people with Alzheimer’s to manage incontinence on their own, as they are not able to carry out everyday tasks, like going to the toilet on time or changing their clothes. This disease is associated with memory loss and impairment of cognitive functions, which means it can also lead to dementia. So, there can be different reasons for incontinence episodes in people with Alzheimer’s, like not knowing where the toilet is, or the inability to determine when to urinate, or forgetting the reason for visiting the toilet.

While caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, you might get a little exhausted or tired, if they start getting regular incontinence episodes. It may begin to take a toll on you. But, if you are patient and ready to understand why it is happening, you’d be able to help them manage it well and understand what they go through on the inside. In this case, you cannot even use a silicone urinary catheter, because the patient might try to pull it out due to irritation. Its long-term usage can lead to stone formation in the bladder and other infections, as well. So, giving up on them and taking them to a nursing home is avoidable, if you consult their doctor regularly and manage it with apt incontinence products, like tape adult diapers and underpads.

Here are some other ways you can manage incontinence in a patient with Alzheimer’s:

● Avoid embarrassing them

No matter how messy incontinence episodes might get, you should never let the patient feel embarrassed. Always remember what he/ she is going through, is way worse than the worst thing you can go through while caring for them. So, try not to demean them or vent your frustration in front of them. If you are calm and considerate, it will help them fight harder and stay motivated.

● Eliminate certain foods/ drinks from their diet

Certain foods or drinks can elevate incontinence, e.g. alcohol, spicy or oily foods, and caffeine. So, eliminate caffeine and spicy foods from their diet and ensure they drink plenty of water, so they remain hydrated, and are not prone to agitation while urinating. However, if their incontinence episodes at night get more frequent, then limit their fluid intake before bedtime.

● Keep the path to the toilet safe and well-lit

Since going to the toilet for an Alzheimer’s patient is itself quite a task, it is important to ensure that the path to the toilet is devoid of any obstacles, and has clear signs with pictures or words that guide them. However, if they are bedridden and taking them to the toilet on time can be a daunting task, keep a commode chair next to their bed to better manage their incontinence during the night.

● Carry out a toilet training program

A properly planned toilet training program can be quite effective, if it is well-implemented. It involves planning the patient’s toilet visits to avoid accidental leakage as much as possible, and taking them to the toilet in the morning for void training. Scheduled bathroom visits are more effective when the patient is travelling.

● Choose their clothing properly

Since people with Alzheimer’s disease have restricted mobility, choose clothes that are easy to wear as well as to take off. It would not only be convenient for them, but also for you.

Other than these simple tips, you can also install grab bars next to the toilet, in case it is difficult for them to get up by themselves or to bend. Managing incontinence in someone with Alzheimer’s disease is not limited to giving them meals on time and changing their clothes. There is much more than that, which requires you to be patient, understanding and more inclined towards making the process convenient for them as well as for yourself, instead of getting annoyed. 

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