As the population of the United States ages, more and more elderly people are needing around-the-clock care. According to a Pew Research Center study, 4 in 10 adults are caring for a sick or elderly relative. They estimate that the number of caregivers has increased 10% between 2010 and 2013.
Being a caregiver can be rewarding, but it can also be stressful and put strain on a family. Many people are caring for aging parents, grandparents or someone in the extended family who suffers from dementia in some form. Alzheimerâ€™s disease, the most common form of dementia, affects approximately 5 million Americans. TheÂ Alzheimerâ€™s AssociationÂ reports that in 2012, 15.4 million caregivers provided more than 17.5 billion hours of unpaid care valued at $216 billion. Being a caregiver is big responsibility.
Caregivers may be prepared for the forgetfulness or memory loss that comes with dementia, but may not know that incontinence is often a part of the later stages of dementia. Though incontinence can be caused from an enlarged prostate, a urinary tract infection or medication, it can also be a byproduct of dementia. The loved one with dementia may forget where the bathroom is, may not be able to make it, or cannot recognize that they have to go. Even with someone to aid them, accidents can happen. Incontinence can be a delicate topic, and be difficult to explain to someone who is not lucid.
The loved one with dementia may not understand what has happened, or they may try to hide their behavior. It is also possible that they go to the bathroom somewhere that they mistake for the bathroom. To avoid these types of situations, and to make this easier on everyone, here are some tips for caregivers:
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Create a bathroom schedule, and take the person to the bathroom every 2 hours.
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Limit the amount of liquids they drink after 8 p.m.
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â If the person cannot remember where the bathroom is, put a sign on the door that clearly marks â€œBathroom.â€
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Use incontinence undergarments.
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Remove wastebaskets or other objects that they may mistake for a toilet.
Another tip for caregivers is to join a support group, either online or in person. On top of all your other responsibilities, it can be a very strenuous job. Remember, incontinence is involuntary and they canâ€™t help it. Nevertheless, there is help available for a loved one suffering from incontinence. The Incontinence Institute offers a variety of treatment options.Â Contact usÂ or call our discreet, dedicated Medical Concierge at 800-771-1953 to learn more.