A Guide to Incontinence for People Living with Dementia
Dementia is a group of conditions that impair functions like judgement, memory loss, and brain functions. Alzheimer’s Disease is one of the more prevalent forms of dementia.
People living with dementia often experience a wide range of issues related to their language, problem-solving, memory, and general thinking abilities. However, perhaps less well known is that physical issues like incontinence can also be something people with this condition experience.
Continence not only requires you to have a functional pelvic floor and lower urinary tract but the cognition and mobility to find a toilet, move to it safely, and use it.
Those living with advanced dementia may struggle with some or all of these parts of the toileting process, including forgetting to use it, forgetting how to use it, failing to recognise it, and being unable to adjust their clothing to use it. As a result, they may require incontinence products as their dementia progresses.
When it becomes apparent that someone you care for, love, or know may soon require incontinence products from leading brands like Advance® and Tranquility™, it can be worth taking some of the following steps.
Perform a Continence Assessment
If you’re a nurse or carer looking after someone with dementia, performing a continence assessment can be crucial. During this assessment, you can determine what’s causing the incontinence and hopefully provide options for the person living with dementia to remain continent as much as possible.
A physical examination by a trained medical professional can rule out or identify problems like abdominal masses, vaginal atrophy, constipation, and enlarged prostates. Alongside a physical exam, completing a bladder and bowel diary, a urinalysis, and a post-void residual volume assessment can also be necessary.
A continence assessment needs to be thorough to provide the person with dementia with as many opportunities as possible to remain continent. This may include the use of supportive products, carer assistants, and suitable clothing.
Encourage and Promote Continence
Even when incontinence products like pull-up style underwear, all-in-one diapers, male guards, and pads are required, there are ways to promote continence up until dementia symptoms become severe.
Handrails, walking aids, commodes, and carer assistance may all make toileting a more accessible activity. Keeping the toilet room free of obstacles is also crucial. Pictures and written labels may help with locating the toilet after forgetting, along with verbal reminders of toileting to create a routine.
Some carers and family members may also like to cover mirrors to avoid confusion with their client or loved one thinking someone else is in the bathroom with them and adding a black toilet seat to make it easier to see. You may also like to leave the toilet door open when it’s not in use.
Choose Incontinence Products
Choosing incontinence products is not always easy, particularly when factoring in dementia. Every patient is different, and expert assistance from continence product businesses may be required to ensure a patient’s needs are taken care of.
Always start by choosing products based on the severity of the incontinence. For example, someone in the early stages of dementia who can still use a toilet regularly might only require ultra-thin liners, while a patient in the later stages might require all-in-one adult diapers.
It’s also a good idea to review the benefits of different products, such as skin integrity, ease of disposal, fit, comfort, storage, odour control, absorbency, and how easy it is to incorporate other products, such as barrier creams. Leading brands such as Advance® provide a wide range of products to suit a variety of unique needs.
How to Manage Incontinence Related to Dementia
When your loved one or patient begins experiencing incontinence related to dementia, it’s not always easy to know what to say or do to make the experience less traumatic.
Fortunately, there are many ways to help someone with dementia preserve their dignity. Instead of telling someone that they have wet themselves, you might like to say, “anyone can have an accident”.
Respect for privacy and avoiding scolding or making a person feel guilty might also go a long way toward managing incontinence during the early stages of dementia. A more hands-on approach with superior incontinence products might allow for more protection, comfort, and convenience as the condition worsens.
Contact Continence Care For Help and Advice
Managing dementia-related incontinence can be challenging for both family members and professional caregivers. If you’re experiencing challenges or need help understanding which products will be most suitable for your unique needs, contact Continence Care for help.
Receive solutions to your problems, explore the various high-quality continence products, and order free samples with confidence.