Incontinence is a topic of embarrassment for many seniors who experience it. And that’s an awful lot of people. Between a quarter and a third of adults in the United States are challenged by incontinence.
But the problem is generally controllable once adults acknowledge the issue and seek professional assistance. With medical help, and sometimes with the aid of personal care homes or restorative care, seniors can manage their incontinence.
Incontinence during senior living: causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment
The National Institute on Aging (NIA) lists several causes of incontinence, most commonly weak or overactive bladder muscles, weak pelvic floor muscles, damage to nerves controlling the bladder (often due to multiple sclerosis, diabetes or Parkinson’s disease) and blockage from an enlarged prostate in men.
The symptoms of incontinence, according to the Urology Care Foundation, are leaking while being active; a sudden, uncontrollable urge to urinate; frequent urination and constant dribbling. Anyone with one or more symptoms should first see a family physician. He or she will conduct lab tests or tests to measure how well the bladder empties. If necessary, the doctor will refer the patient to a urologist for further tests and treatment.
Fortunately, many treatments are available today. The Urology Care Foundation lists information on a variety of portable devices and absorbent products that can help people manage the daily challenges of incontinence.
The NIA describes several methods of bladder control training:
- pelvic muscle (Kegel) exercises
- urination on schedule
- lifestyle changes: losing weight, stopping smoking and alcohol use, drinking less caffeine and avoiding lifting heavy objects
Other treatments that have proven effective with patients are medications, estrogen cream (for women) and surgery.
Our personal care homes and restorative services meet seniors’ daily needs
Some seniors with incontinence benefit from services provided by personal care homes or assisted living facilities. These residents can receive support with bathroom use, clothing changes, bathing and medication management 24 hours a day. At Country Meadows, our personal care residents also get assistance as needed with weekly housekeeping, linen service and transportation to doctor’s appointments.
In addition to our personal care homes, Pathways Restorative Services™ at Country Meadows provides short- and long-term assistance to people who need increased support, often following surgery, hospitalization or an injury. The service is also designed for seniors with an ongoing condition, such as incontinence, muscle weakness, chronic pain and joint problems.
People in the latter stages of Alzheimer’s disease also commonly have problems with incontinence. They may not realize they need to use the bathroom, forget to use it or can’t locate it. The needs of these individuals—medical, emotional and intellectual—can be met within our Connections Memory Support Services program.
Contact Country Meadows Retirement Communities to see what we can do for you
If you or a loved one has health care needs and are choosing a retirement community near you, we hope you will contact us. We would like to meet and talk with you about our full range of services and activities that we can offer you or your senior family member.