Dementia care calls for both empathy and creativity to deal with an assortment of complex behaviors and effects, and that’s particularly true with regards to incontinence, something that is extremely common in Alzheimer’s as well as other types of dementia. These tried-and-true approaches are generally successful in decreasing the effect of incontinence and preventing an escalation of emotions in someone you love with dementia.
- Choose your words carefully. Instead of talking about incontinence products as “diapers,” for instance, call them “briefs” or “pull-up underwear.” Having said that, take the cue from your loved one; if he or she prefers to utilize the expression “diapers” and appears more comfortable with that, then follow along.
- Remove regular underwear from the older adult's dresser. In order to prevent confusion or resistance to wearing incontinence products, make certain that those are the only option in his or her wardrobe.
- Test assorted products. With different brands, sizes, and absorbency levels available, it could take some experimenting to come across one that’s most comfortable and effective.
- Use backup products overnight. To help stop the older adult with dementia and incontinence from waking up during the night from issues related to leaking, try placing booster pads within the absorbent underwear, and use products marked for heaviest coverage. Waterproof mattress protectors and disposable bed pads are likewise extremely helpful.
- Ensure easy accessibility to the bathroom. Complete a walk-through of the areas the senior spends time in to assess if it is easy enough for her or him to access the bathroom. Specifically, get rid of any clutter, cords, or throw rugs in the person’s walking path to avoid falls.
- If an accident does happen… Maintain a relaxed demeanor in order not to hurt (or further upset) the older adult, and say something like, “It would appear that something may have spilled on your pants; let’s get you some clean clothes,” or “It looks like your pants are wet; that happens sometimes.”
- Address hesitancy to keep products on. For older adults who routinely attempt to remove incontinence products, first see if you're able to determine the reason why. If discomfort is a factor, try different types of products to find a more comfortable one. Or the senior could be trying to change if there’s a sense of moisture.
In all cases, keep an eye on the older adult's skin for signs and symptoms of rash or irritation, and contact his or her medical professional if noted.
For even more dementia and incontinence care tips, or to find out about Amy’s Helping Hands’ dependable, professional Windsor-Essex senior care services, call us at 519.915.4370 .