If your elderly family member is dealing with both incontinence and dementia, you may find that each seems a little more difficult to manage. Having a plan for dealing with both issues together is really important for helping your senior to keep her spirits up and not feel constantly uncomfortable.
Approach the Conversation Calmly
Above all, make sure that you address anything regarding incontinence calmly and positively. Be understanding and make sure that you’re not doing anything to cause a scene about what’s happened. Mention to your senior that it’s time to change clothes or that sometimes accidents happen and help her to get changed. It doesn’t need to be a big production.
Don’t Call Incontinence Products Diapers
Something that can surprise you about dementia are the bits and pieces of conversation that get through and that cause a reaction in your senior. Calling incontinence products “diapers” is likely to be one of those triggers. You may find you get an even better reaction by calling pull-up incontinence briefs underwear.
Set up a Bathroom Schedule that Makes Sense
Having a bathroom schedule is going to be incredibly important for your senior. Shortly after she gets up she likely needs to go, and then you might want to include “pit stops” every one or two hours after that. Definitely pay attention to how quickly after meals your senior needs to visit the bathroom and adjust the schedule accordingly. While it might sound restrictive to do something like this, it can actually help to keep your senior’s bladder emptier and reduce accidents.
Get Overnight Help if You Need It
One issue you might run into is that your senior’s bladder doesn’t really have a schedule at night, no matter how well you can schedule things during the day. If you’re finding that you’re awake a lot overnight helping your senior to get to the bathroom, that can be a problem in the long run. Homecare providers handling an overnight shift can help to ensure that you’re getting sleep and that your senior has the help that she needs.
Your senior may not fully understand what’s happening if she’s dealing with both incontinence and dementia. You may need to decide how much to share with her and how you’re going to talk about the subject of incontinence. Downplaying the issue and making sure that you’re not causing embarrassment is probably the best option.