Managing Incontinence in Seniors

Explore possible underlying causes for incontinence in seniors and how to help.

Incontinence in seniors, or a loss of bladder control, is an uncomfortable and delicate issue. It can trigger a variety of problems, from skin sores to social isolation, which creates secondary problems for individuals who are afraid to leave home in case of an “accident.” Yet while bladder leakage causes as many as 25 million people in America to suffer with difficulties, the affliction seldom receives the attention and discussion warranted. With the lack of communication and clear information about managing incontinence in seniors, many older individuals and those who care for them feel as though little can be done about the problem.

Nevertheless, senior incontinence is not inescapable as we age. While many older individuals do discover that their bladders may be “weak,” causing leaks, sometimes the problem has a quick and easy solution that makes managing incontinence in seniors possible.

Below are just a few bladder leakage problems that can be treated:

Urinary tract infections (UTIs)

UTIs, also called bladder infections, result in an overwhelming urge to pass urine. In younger people, this feeling is apparent, but it isn’t always as recognizable for older adults. If an older adult presents with sudden urinary incontinence when this was not a difficulty before, look for additional warning signs that suggest a UTI, such as:

  • Sudden confusion or agitation
  • Hallucinations
  • Other behavioral changes
  • Poor motor skills
  • Falls

If a UTI exists, you may also find:

  • Strong smelling urine
  • Cloudy urine, or blood in the urine
  • Fever 
  • Complaints of pain when urinating
  • Complaints of pressure or pain in the abdomen
  • Night sweats

If you believe your loved one may have a UTI, the individual needs to be assessed by the doctor and have his or her urine tested. Once the infection has been treated, the incontinence should be resolved or lessened.

Loss of mobility

It is common for incontinence to become an issue as mobility decreases. The need to urinate could come on abruptly and many older adults are unable to get to the bathroom quickly enough. This could also be an issue overnight, as it often takes longer to get out of bed to go to the restroom, and waking up in the middle of the night can also cause some confusion.

For older individuals with mobility issues, an in-home assessment from one of our home care experts can help offer recommendations.

Medications

Certain drugs, such as diuretics, increase the level of urine produced, leading to an increased urge to urinate. If your loved one is on a medication that boosts urine production, it is important to keep this in mind when he/she has to leave home or is not near a readily accessible bathroom.

At Dakota Home Care, we understand how UTIs, senior incontinence, and other aging health issues can influence quality of life and how a highly-trained caregiver can help. Our senior care team can provide a wide range of discreet and personalized home care services, including ambulation and incontinence, medication reminders, bathing and grooming assistance, and more, with care plans customized to help your loved one live his or her best life. Reach out to us today at (877) 691-0015 to learn how a home health aide or caregiver in Fargo, ND can help, or to discuss our home care services in Fargo, Bismarck, Mandan, and the surrounding areas.

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