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The Fearless Cregiver


Gary Barg - Editor-in-chiefIncontinence Tips for Fearless Caregivers


As many as 13 million people in the United States are dealing with incontinence. To be absolutely clear, incontinence is not a normal sign of aging; it may actually be a symptom of other problems such as nerve disorders, loss of sensation and weakening muscles and can also occur due to medications or surgery.

Incontinence is often the leading reason for nursing home placement with approximately one half of all residents being incontinent. 

We have compiled a list of tips that should help you and your loved one as you deal with incontinence:

  • Always make sure the doctor does an evaluation to rule out infections or tumors for both urinary or bowel incontinence.
  • Make sure your loved one is taken to the bathroom 20 minutes after the first meal
  • Avoid all caffeine as it irritates the bladder.
  • Your loved one may be ashamed about their incontinence. The best option, if possible, is to talk openly together about the situation.
  • Incontinence briefs need to be changed two or three times per day even if not soiled because of the risk of urinary infections.
  • If possible, involve your loved one in choosing appropriate incontinence undergarments
  • When talking with your loved one about incontinence undergarments, avoid using words such as “adult diapers”.
Incontinence Tips
  • Clothes with elastic waistbands are easier to manage than zippers or buttons.
  • When going out, take an extra set of clothing along in case of an accident.
  • Wear disposable latex gloves when cleaning up after an incontinence episode.
  • Wash your loved ones skin and apply an appropriate cream to prevent irritation.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, even if you wore disposable gloves.
  • Do not leave your loved one outside to wait for you as anxiety will build.
  • Provide adequate fiber in your loved one's diet.
  • Finally, if there are “accidents” on a rug, use a pet disinfectant. Standard cleaners do not kill the fecal bacteria.



  Gary Barg
Today's Caregiver magazine
Wednesday August 31, 2011
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