August 19, 2009

How to Handle Incontinence in Alzheimer’s Patients

Alzheimer’s disease is a much feared illness in part because it is still incurable, but in part also because it reduces active, healthy adults who are accustomed to their independent lifestyles to suddenly become dependent on others not only for assistance with such tasks as shopping and house cleaning, but even such intimate aspects of living as feeding and even toileting. Incontinence - while sometimes a normal aspect of aging - may be a hugely embarrassing aspect of this illness to someone who suffers from the gradual diminishing of her or his faculties; more often than not it is perceived as adding insult to injury. Caregivers as well often have a hard time seeing the gradual mental as well as physical decline of their loved one as the disease progresses.

There are a number of steps a caregiver can take that will help both her or him as well as the loved one take this new hurdle of incontinence in a stride, and with a bit of preparation and know how, the embarrassment may be reduced and a feeling of dignity will be preserved for the patient. Here are five suggestions to make this process easier:

- The urge to use the bathroom propels us to excuse ourselves from activities and go in search of these facilities. Unfortunately, when a loved one suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, she or he will sometimes not recognize this urge anymore. She or he may literally forget to use the bathroom prior to leaving the house or during activities. This will then result in embarrassing episodes of loss of bladder or even bowel control. Knowing that this is part and parcel of this disease, the caregiver should purchase adult incontinence products, such as adult briefs, that will help to reduce the occurrence of embarrassing public moments. Be certain that your loved ones has the products easily accessible and knows how to put them on. Similarly, it will not hurt to have a couple of spares in your purse when accompanying your loved one to go shopping or on other errands.

- While at home, make sure that your loved has easy access to the bathroom. This means that it is only a few short steps from her or his bedroom to the bathroom, and it also means that you, as the care giver, ensure that your loved ones dresses in such a manner that clothes may be removed quickly and easily when visiting the bathroom. There are many attractive clothing options available for patients who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, and none of them have cumbersome buttons, snaps, drawstrings or zippers that make using the bathroom harder than necessary. ...

Read more: Alzheimer’s Help: How to Handle Incontinence in Alzheimer’s Patients

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