Caregiving Tips: Dealing with Incontinence
Receiving in-home care assistance involves being vulnerable, due to the intimate nature of needing care. This is one of the reasons quality in-home caregivers are so valuable – they know how to provide the best care possible while making their clients feel comfortable and at ease.
Incontinence is one such example of vulnerability. Incontinence is a loss of bladder or bowel control that is common in later stages of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, other forms of dementia, and Parkinson’s. A positive and compassionate approach from caregivers helps people maintain their dignity.
Why Does Incontinence Happen?
A compassionate approach to incontinence starts with understanding why it happens. Understanding the causes can also allow caregivers to mitigate or prevent incidences of incontinence for their clients. Incontinence can be caused by many factors, including:
An inability to recognize the need to use the bathroom
Forgetting where the bathroom is located
Side effects from medications
Certain physical conditions
Symptoms of certain health conditions
Clothing that is difficult to remove
In some of these cases, nothing can be done, but in others there are opportunities to prevent incontinence. An example is choosing clothing that is easier to remove. In any case, the main goal is always dignity and compassion.
3 Strategies to Reduce Incontinence
Caregivers can utilize different strategies to reduce incontinence. Since care plans are tailored to the unique needs of each client, the strategies will align with the overall care the clients receive. Below are three strategies that can help.
Hydration. The effects of dehydration can actually make incontinence worse, especially if clients are on certain types of medications. Balancing liquid consumption by spreading out servings throughout the day will help keep urination on a more even schedule.
Healthy Diet. Certain foods and beverages are diuretics, which cause people to urinate more frequently. Other types of foods can lead to constipation, which affects incontinence. Helping clients maintain a healthy diet will help.
Proper Hygiene. It is very important that clients receive proper personal hygiene. This will help prevent conditions such as urinary tract infections, which can lead to incontinence.
The Importance of a Timed Voiding Schedule
This technique trains the body into a more normal pattern of voiding. This helps reduce the frequency of incontinence. Also called bladder retraining, timed voiding creates a schedule for people experiencing incontinence, thereby making it easier to predict when incontinence might occur.
A normal voiding schedule is approximately every 3-4 hours, but it will be unique to each person. Intervals start out smaller in the beginning, and are gradually increased to a goal of 3-4 hours. Again, this will depend on the person and the resources available to the caregiver.
Timed voiding is not just reserved for the elderly or people with health conditions — people of all ages use this technique to reduce the frequency of urination. It can be beneficial to communicate this to clients, so that they don’t feel singled out or like something is “wrong” with them.
In-Home Care Assistance
The benefits of in-home care assistance allow people to age with dignity and respect within the comfort of their own homes. Assistance with incontinence and utilizing techniques to reduce incontinence are examples of the value in-home caregiving provides.
If you or a loved one needs elder care in Oakland or one of the surrounding communities, please reach out to Alegre Home Care. Known as “your neighborhood home care agency”, Alegre Home Care has been serving seniors and people with disabilities for over 25 years.