Incontinence, the loss of voluntary control over urination or defecation, is a common problem among the elderly population and can have significant physical, psychological, and social implications. Fortunately, there are lots of strategies and interventions available to improve and maintain bladder and bowel control.
Tips for Continence Promotion
Incontinence can be a significant source of discomfort, embarrassment, and social isolation. Therefore, if you are caring for an older person at home, continence promotion is an essential aspect of their care.
Here are some tips for promoting continence in older individuals:
• Encourage regular toileting – encourage the individual to go to the bathroom at regular intervals, such as every 2-3 hours, even if they do not feel the urge to go. This can help prevent accidents and also help train the bladder to hold more urine.
• Encourage physical activity – regular physical activity, such as walking or swimming, can strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and reduce the risk of urinary incontinence.
• Promote healthy habits – encourage the individual to eat a healthy diet with plenty of fibre, drink enough water, and avoid caffeine and alcohol, which can irritate the bladder.
• Provide access to appropriate assistive devices – provide easy access to toilet facilities. Consider providing assistive devices, such as raised toilet seats or grab bars, to make toileting more manageable and safer.
• Monitor medication – some medications can exacerbate incontinence. Keep track of the individual’s medication and talk to their doctor if you have any concerns.
• Educate – talk openly and educate the older person about incontinence and ways to manage it, such as bladder training exercises and pelvic floor muscle exercises.
• Be supportive – incontinence can be sensitive and embarrassing for some older individuals. Be supportive and understanding, and reassure that incontinence is a common issue and can be managed with proper care and treatment.
It’s important to remember that continence promotion strategies should be tailored to each individual’s specific needs and circumstances. Healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, and physical therapists, play a vital role in assessing and developing personalised continence promotion plans for older individuals.
Don’t forget to check out our Geriatric Resources, where we have bundles of information and support materials to help everyone.