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Treating Incontinence with Help From Your Caregiver | Generations Home Care
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    Incontinence — the involuntary loss of bladder or bowel control — is a common health concern affecting millions of seniors worldwide. In fact, the CDC reports that 43.8% of non-institutionalized Americans aged 65 and older experience urinary leakage. That number jumps to 70.3% for people in long-term residential care. Yet despite the large number of older people who experience incontinence, many people feel embarrassed or even ashamed of this very normal issue. Some people may even hesitate to talk to a doctor as a result, which means that the number of people who experience incontinence is likely underreported.

    At Generations Home Care, we believe that dignity and a high quality of life go hand in hand. By understanding what causes incontinence and the best ways to treat it, we can explore options that address incontinence as well as the complicated emotions people may have around the issue. 

    Understanding the Causes of Incontinence

    As individuals age, the muscles and nerves that control bladder and bowel function may weaken, leading to difficulties maintaining continence. Several factors contribute to these bodily changes. As people age, the bladder and pelvic floor muscles may weaken, diminishing their ability to control urinary and bowel function. Chronic health conditions such as diabetes, Parkinson’s, or dementia can also impair nerve function and muscle control. Cognitive decline associated with dementia can also play a role, as people may struggle to recognize the need to urinate or communicate their toileting needs effectively.

    In addition, many seniors take several medications which can affect bladder function. And on a logistical level, mobility issues or physical disabilities may create difficulties in making it to the bathroom in time. 

    No matter the reason, incontinence is a serious issue that can quickly have a significant impact on a person’s comfort, emotional well-being, and quality of life. 

    Treating Incontinence in Older Adults

    While incontinence can pose significant challenges, various treatment options are available to help seniors manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. These may include:

    1. Lifestyle modifications: Encouraging seniors to maintain a healthy diet, stay hydrated, and exercise regularly can promote bowel regularity and bladder health. Limiting caffeine and alcohol consumption, especially in the evening, can also reduce urinary urgency and frequency.
    2. Pelvic floor exercises: Pelvic floor muscle training, also known as Kegel exercises, can strengthen the muscles responsible for bladder and bowel control, reducing the severity of incontinence symptoms.
    3. Bladder training: By gradually increasing the time intervals between bathroom visits, seniors can retrain their bladders to hold urine for longer periods, thereby improving urinary continence.
    4. Medications: Depending on the type and severity of incontinence, healthcare providers may prescribe medications to manage symptoms and reduce urinary urgency or frequency.
    5. Medical devices: For seniors with severe or refractory incontinence, medical devices such as catheters, pessaries, or absorbent products like adult diapers or pads may be recommended to manage leakage and maintain skin integrity.

    How In-Home Caregivers Can Help with Incontinence Care

    In-home caregivers play a crucial role in supporting seniors with incontinence, offering compassionate assistance and personalized care to help manage their symptoms effectively. 

    Personal Care

    In-home caregivers assist seniors with toileting activities, including transferring to and from the bathroom, maintaining hygiene, and changing incontinence products as needed. They offer respectful and dignified support, preserving the senior’s autonomy and privacy while ensuring their comfort and well-being.

    Monitoring and Documentation

    One crucial role caregivers fulfill is that of documentation. Caregivers observe and document urinary and bowel habits, noting any changes in frequency, urgency, or leakage patterns. This information helps healthcare providers assess the effectiveness of interventions and make adjustments as necessary, creating a more accurate treatment plan.

    Medication Management

    Many seniors struggle to keep track of the medications they must take daily. Caregivers ensure seniors take their prescribed medications as directed, including any medications prescribed for incontinence management. They monitor for potential side effects or complications and promptly communicate any concerns to healthcare professionals.

    Promoting a Healthy Lifestyle

    In the absence of anyone in the house, many seniors may find it difficult to stay on top of their eating, exercise, and wellness goals. An in-home caregiver can provide encouragement and accountability, as well as prepare healthy meals and ensure seniors stay hydrated. With a bit of help, seniors can develop habits that alleviate incontinence symptoms in the long term.

    Emotional Support

    Coping with incontinence can be emotionally challenging, leading to feelings of embarrassment, frustration, or shame. Caregivers offer empathetic listening, reassurance, and encouragement, helping seniors navigate their emotions and maintain a positive outlook despite their condition. 

    Environmental Modifications

    Caregivers assess the home environment for potential safety hazards or barriers to toileting accessibility, making necessary recommendations to enhance comfort and convenience for seniors with mobility limitations or cognitive impairments. This may include installing grab bars, raised toilet seats, or bedside commodes to facilitate independent toileting and minimize accidents.

    Incontinence Shouldn’t Hold You Back

    Incontinence is a common and often distressing issue for seniors, but it doesn’t have to define their quality of life. With proper understanding, treatment, and support, seniors can effectively manage their symptoms and maintain their dignity and independence. If you or a loved one is looking for help with incontinence, Generations Home Care is here to help you navigate these challenges with grace and confidence. 

    About Generations Home Care

    Generations Home Care personalized in-home care and support services help those recovering from illness, injury, or surgery, living with a chronic disease, or dealing with the natural process of aging. We help people live a fuller, healthier, and independent life.

    Our caregivers are trained in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended COVID-19 safety precautions. We offer levels of care ranging from companionship, to respite for the primary family caregiver, to homemaking services, to assistance with activities of daily living, to Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Generations Home Care takes a holistic approach and emphasizes a consistent, client-centered plan of care.

    Our Specialty Services Include:

    • Rehab or hospital-to-home programs for safe discharge.
    • Short-term post-operative care during recovery periods.
    • Non-medical life management services for people with chronic conditions.
    • Veteran’s connection to care program.
    • Live-in services and couples care.

    If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you, contact us today at 602-595-HOME (4663) or by filling out the contact form on our website.

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