Community Blog

Handling a Common Senior Problem- Incontinence

By John Heyworth, Care Coordinator

We Can Handle This Common Senior Problem

 – Urinary Incontinence

 

As we approach old age the type of problems we face change.  It doesn’t seem fair that now that the wisdom of years has now settled on the elderly they have to face the degradation of the body.  The causes are diverse.  It can be as simple as not drinking enough water.  It could be as serious as an inflamed bladder wall.  Several diseases can bring about incontinence, such as multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease.  In women, prior pregnancies, childbirth, and the onset of menopause can lead to incontinence.  In men, prostate problems can hamper urination.  Drinking coffee or tea or taking prescribed medications can aggravate your bladder.

 

The thought of seeing a doctor about the leaks would probably cause some embarrassment. A primary care physician may refer the patient to a urinary specialist, whose job it would be to check for other serious problems and go from there.  But the best reason to see a doctor is this: elderly urinary incontinence is a very treatable condition.  Urinalysis is done to rule out infection and blood in the urine.  Blood tests are done to check kidney function, calcium and glucose levels, a thorough discussion of one’s medical history, and a physical exam are done.

 

For the majority of people with incontinence, most of the time it is non-surgical treatment.  Treatments include bladder training, scheduled bathroom visits, pelvic floor muscle exercises, and fluid and diet management.  There are no side effects and the response is proportional to the work of the patient. 

 

If your client or loved one suffers from elderly urinary incontinence, self-care helps avoid complications such as skin rashes and urine odors. For cleaning, use a mild soap such as Dove. Use a protective ointment like petroleum jelly or cocoa butter that can protect skin. Make sure to pat the skin dry after urinating. If he or she rushes to the restroom, slip-and-fall accidents can and have happened, so try to set up the home to make bathroom trips easier. Use pads and protective garments such as disposable underwear until you find a successful cure, or if his or her treatment isn't 100 percent effective.

 

At Home Helpers Home Care, we help avoid such embarrassing moments by preventive care and by comforting those who have incontinence when accidents occur.  We treat others as we would like to be treated.  That is what we do.  Please call and set up an appointment to see what we can do for you and your loved one.