Dementia care requires both empathy and creativity to manage a range of complicated behaviors and effects, and that is particularly true in relation to incontinence, something that is quite frequent in Alzheimer’s along with other forms of dementia. These tried-and-true strategies are usually successful in decreasing the effect of incontinence and reducing an escalation of emotions in someone you love with Alzheimer’s.
- Pick your words very carefully. As opposed to describing incontinence products as “diapers,” for instance, call them “briefs” or “pull-up underwear.” Nevertheless, take the cue from your loved one; if she or he chooses to make use of the expression “diapers” and appears to be confident with that, then follow along.
- Clear away regular underwear from the senior’s dresser. To avoid misunderstandings or opposition to wearing incontinence products, make certain that those are the sole option in his or her wardrobe.
- Try a variety of products. With different brands, sizes, and absorbency levels available, it might take some trial and error to come across one that is most comfortable and effective.
- Use backup products overnight. To help stop the older adult from waking up during the night from incontinence-related issues, try placing booster pads inside the absorbent underwear, and use products marked for heaviest coverage. Waterproof mattress protectors and disposable bed pads are also extremely helpful.
- Ensure easy access to the bathroom. Conduct a walk-through of the areas the older adult spends time in to evaluate how straightforward it is for him or her to get to the bathroom. Specifically, get rid of any clutter, cords, or throw rugs in the person’s walking path to protect against falls.
- If an accident does occur… Maintain a calm demeanor so as not to offend (or further upset) the senior loved one, and say something like, “It looks like something may have spilled on your pants; let’s get you some clean clothes,” or “It appears as if your pants are wet; that happens every now and then.”
- Address reluctance to keep products on. For seniors who frequently try to remove incontinence products, first see if you can discover the particular reason why. If discomfort is a factor, try different types of products for one that might be more comfortable. Or your loved one might be trying to change if there’s a feeling of wetness.
In all cases, watch the senior’s skin for indications of rash or irritation, and contact her or his medical professional if observed.