Families are often surprised to discover dementia and incontinence are closely linked. Fortunately, there are many things families can do to reduce accidents while also helping their senior loved ones manage the symptoms of dementia. Lancaster dementia care professionals discuss 5 of these strategies.
1. Make Toileting Part of the Daily Routine
Confusion and memory loss are two dementia symptoms that can lead to incontinence. Seniors often forget to go to the restroom until it is too late. Helping your loved one to the restroom at regular intervals throughout the day is the one of the easiest ways to compensate for forgetfulness.
2. Streamline the Restroom
Dementia can also cause seniors to experience changes in their visual perception that may make them fear using the restroom. For example, your loved one may mistake a potted plant for a person, or a distracting picture could make him or her forget why he or she was in the restroom. Removing unnecessary objects eases anxiety for seniors with dementia and ensures they remember their purpose for being in the restroom.
3. Choose Clothing with Simple Fasteners
Buttons, zippers, and other fasteners complicate the process of going to the bathroom. Lancaster caregivers should help seniors with dementia choose clothing that is easy to remove. For example, an elastic waistband reduces the amount of time it takes for your loved one to prepare to go to the bathroom, reducing the risk of an accident due to a lack of time.
4. Check for Physical Complications
Incontinence can sometimes be completely treated. For instance, healing a urinary tract infection can reduce leakage. Certain medications can also cause the bladder to relax. Though your loved one may still need these prescriptions, it provides a starting point for understanding why the incontinence is occurring.
5. Recognize the Signs of Urgency
A senior with dementia may not always verbally relay his or her need to use the restroom. Instead, he or she may pace, tug at clothing, or appear anxious. Responding to these cues helps reduce your loved one’s risk of incontinence-related accidents.
If your loved one has been diagnosed with dementia and you are concerned about his or her quality of life, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers are experts in dementia care and can provide mental stimulation and assist with daily tasks like bathing, grooming, and cooking. For more information on the high-quality elder care Lancaster seniors can count on, call one of our qualified Care Managers at (717) 540-4663 to request a complimentary in-home consultation.