Living in a nursing home or assisted living can mean making major life adjustments, but it shouldn't mean making any compromises. If your elderly parent, friend, or other relative is enjoying their golden years in any kind of facility, and develops a problem with incontinence, everyone involved needs to be aware of the options available and how to make the right choice.
A Medical Assessment
Because incontinence can be a symptom of some other medical issue, such as a urinary tract infection, enlarged prostate, or even neurological disease, it's vital that your elderly loved one see their doctor about any short or long-term issues with bladder control. Additionally, there are specific medical remedies for incontinence, like surgery or prescription medication, and they should be investigated as convenient and effective remedies.
The Right Products
Sometimes, a bladder-control issue isn't serious enough to warrant surgery, or your elderly mom or dad may prefer not to undergo such a procedure. In that case, you should make sure they have the right products available to them. Protective undergarments can help with nighttime and daytime incidents of incontinence, and special bedding may be necessary for the mattress.
Different products solve different problems, and not everyone agrees on what works best; therefore, it's important that the elderly person in question gives feedback and is included in the process of selecting products, if possible. In a nursing home environment, staff may have fewer options available to them, but if you and the elderly resident speak up, you should be allowed to supply other solutions that staff would be happy to work with.
Assistive Devices For Getting To The Bathroom
Anyone with bladder-control issues, be it in a nursing home, assisted living, or their own home, should have access to any devices they may need to help them get to the bathroom quickly. Motion-sensor lighting, for example, can make getting to the commode faster and easier than having to manually turn on lights; handrails in the bathroom itself may make it safer for an elderly person just getting up out of bed to navigate their way, and a raised toilet seat should be more convenient for independence. Wherever your elderly mom, dad, or other loved one is living, make sure they have what they need to more effectively deal with their bathroom urgency issues.
An Open Line Of Communication
So long as the elderly individual facing incontinence can, themselves, communicate, it's important that their voice be heard. Talking about the subject can make them feel indignant or embarrassed, however, so tune your tone accordingly. Use the experience of nursing home or senior care staff to make the best choices, but keep the person themselves in the loop.
Incontinence is not uncommon among the elderly population, but finding a specific solution can be challenging. Work directly with your elderly parent (or other friend or relative) and talk to the professionals taking care of them. In many cases, bladder control issues don't have to interfere with happy, healthy living, so don't let them.