Dementia care calls for both empathy and creativity to manage a variety of complex behaviors and effects, which is especially true when dealing with incontinence, something that is exceedingly common in Alzheimer’s as well as other types of dementia. Below are tried-and-true strategies that are usually effective in minimizing the impact of incontinence and preventing an escalation of emotions in an individual with Alzheimer’s disease:
- Choose your words carefully. As opposed to describing incontinence products as “diapers,” for instance, call them “briefs” or “pull-up underwear.” Nonetheless, take the cue from your loved one; if she or he prefers to make use of the term “diapers” and seems confident with that, then follow along.
- Get rid of regular underwear from the older adult’s dresser. In order to avoid frustration or resistance to wearing incontinence products, ensure those are the sole option in his or her wardrobe.
- Try various products. With different brands, sizes, and absorbency levels available, it could take some trial and error to discover a product that is most comfortable and effective.
- Use backup products overnight. To help prevent the senior loved one from waking throughout the night from incontinence-related issues, try placing booster pads inside the absorbent underwear, and use products marked for heaviest coverage overnight. Waterproof mattress protectors and disposable bed pads can also be extremely helpful in case of leaks.
- Ensure easy accessibility to the bathroom. Complete a walk-through of the areas the individual spends time in to identify any obstacles he or she may face while accessing the bathroom. Specifically, reduce clutter, cords, or throw rugs in the senior’s walking path to avoid falls.
- If an accident does happen…Maintain a relaxed demeanor to avoid offending (or further upsetting) the individual. Try responding with something like, “It seems like something may have spilled on your pants; let’s get you some clean clothes,” or “It looks like your pants are wet; that happens every now and then.”
- Address unwillingness to keep products on. For those individuals who regularly try to remove incontinence products, begin addressing this by identifying the reason why this happens. If discomfort is an issue, try various kinds of products to find one that may be more comfortable. Consider if your loved one may be trying to change if there’s a feeling of moisture.
In all cases, pay close attention to the skin for signs and symptoms of rash or irritation, and contact his or her physician with any concerns.
For additional incontinence care tips, support, or in-home solutions, contact CareWorks Health Services to find an in home caregiver in Orange County. Our trusted, professional caregivers are available to provide customized, in-home care solutions. Contact us at (949) 859-4700 and see our full service area.