Alzheimers and Incontinence
Challenges with Daily Activities: Incontinence
When a person is living with dementia and Alzheimers disease, their condition often starts to impact their ability to perform daily activities as normal. For the caregivers of individuals with Alzheimers disease, helping their loved ones with those daily activities is part of their job. For many caregivers this means helping their loved one with proper use of the toilet. This can sometimes be uncomfortable for all parties involved, but when issues with incontinence arise, it is important to know how to handle these problems properly.
Understanding Incontinence and Alzheimers Disease
When an individual is suffering from dementia or Alzheimers disease; incontinence can be an issue as proper use of the toilet requires motivation, visual recognition, an understanding of internal cues and proper use of motor skills. Unfortunately these are all skills that can diminish when an individual has dementia and many find that with time the ability to control bowels and the bladder can be impaired in the later stages of the disease.
Possible Problems That Can Arise Surrounding Incontinence
There are a number of issues that tend to accompany incontinence; these issues include, but are not limited to:
- Medical issues that can come not only from dementia but from aging. Issues involving enlarged prostate glands and urinary tract infections are often common for those who have dementia and they can all lead to issues with incontinence. - Many times the medications that individuals with Alzheimers disease come with side effects that can lead to incontinence - Issues surrounding incontinence can often be as simple as an individual being unable to remember where the bathroom is or forgetting the verbal cues that are needed to be able to express their needs. - People with dementia may have lost their motor skills and their ability to remove their clothing in time to use the restroom - The confusion that associated dementia may make it hard for people to comprehend the internal signals the body gives when it needs to urinate or pass a bowel movement.
Tips on Handling Incontinence Issues
Here are some helpful tips to consider that may help in with incontinence.
- Approach the individual from the front, so that you do not alarm them and always treat them with dignity and respect. - Be understanding when accidents occur and reassure them when these issues do happen. - Start to develop a routine such as taking the individual to the bathroom at the same time every day. - Avoid giving the individual caffeine or stimulants in the evening or any liquids before bedtime. - Listen for cues and watch for non-verbal cues that the individual needs to use the restroom and try to respond quickly to any requests or signs.