Incontinence is a common condition that affects about half of older adults. Not only is it uncomfortable, but it can also bring about ensuing emotions of stress and embarrassment. While women are more prone to urinary incontinence, prostatitis, which is a painful inflammation of the prostate gland, is a factor that causes male incontinence. The good news is, with proper continence management, this condition can improve with time.
Factors that Lead to Incontinence
Several factors contribute to incontinence. As we age, our muscles deteriorate, which results in a weak bladder or pelvic floor muscles. Due to this factor, incontinence happens more often among older adults. Damage to nerves that control the bladder from diseases such as multiple sclerosis, diabetes, or Parkinson’s disease can also cause accidental leaks. In addition, diseases such as arthritis may make it difficult to get to the bathroom in time.
Bladder Control Training
The bladder is a hollow organ that is part of the urinary system, which also includes the kidneys, ureters, and urethra. During urination, muscles in the bladder tighten to move urine into the tube-shaped urethra. At the same time, the muscles around the urethra relax and let the urine pass out of the body. When the muscles in and around the bladder don’t work the way they should due to aging, urine can leak, resulting in urinary incontinence. Doing pelvic muscle exercises, also known as Kegel exercises, can strengthen the muscles that support the bladder. Help your parents to locate the pelvic muscles by telling them to try and stop their urine midstream. The muscles that they use to squeeze to stop urine flow are the pelvic muscles. As a reminder, doing so is only for the sole purpose of locating the pelvic muscles, it is not a good idea to hold urine regularly as it may increase the risk of bladder infections.
When carrying out the Kegel exercise, tell them to hold their pelvic floor muscles for 3 seconds and then release. Get them to try and repeat this exercise 10 to 15 times for each cycle.
Be Prepared for Accidents
Being prepared helps to reduce stress and anxiety. Have an incontinence care kit on hand whenever you are with your parents. The kit can be comprised of clean-up essentials like incontinence briefs, pads, cleansing wipes, and a change of clothes. This allows you and your parents to take trips out with peace of mind.
Establish a Bathroom Schedule
Having a bathroom schedule helps to reduce unpleasant surprises, especially for parents with Alzheimer’s or dementia. It accustoms their bodily functions to go at fixed timings so you can plan activities around this schedule. Start by asking them to go every 1 to 2 hours and observe and experiment to find the best fit.
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Residents in our assisted living community receive personal support with daily living activities so you and your parents can enjoy complete peace of mind. Contact us today to find out more about the comprehensive range of services we provide in our assisted living community today!