This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MyCareGivingStory #Ad
When we’re busy growing up, we forget our loved one’s are also growing older. While we are finding our way in the world, they may find themselves trying to adapt to new and more difficult situations in life such as mobility, safety, and incontinence.
Difficulties with using the toilet, including accidents and incontinence, can be troublesome for the elderly. This is especially true for people living with dementia, particularly as the condition progresses. These problems can be upsetting for both the person coping with embarrassing health ailments, and for loved one’s caretakers assisting them daily in these situations.
At the age of twenty-five, I became caretaker to my grandmother due to her early onset, stroke-induced dementia. This was a very difficult period in my life. And despite settling into our new normal as caregiver and care receiver, one issue we struggled with in our care giving journey, bathroom incontinence.
Consider a typical morning for us: My grandmother, an avid television binge watcher, would laugh at a humorous television program, have a little incontinence leak, begin walking to her bathroom, and then cry because she soiled her clothing in transit. She felt very sad, helpless, and embarrassing in those moments. In the early days I would feel resentful she didn’t let me know when she needed help. My grandmother would not understand my reaction. It was an unending drama in my home my first year of care taking.
I soon came to realize that someone living with dementia is more likely to have accidents simply because they may not being able to react quickly enough to the sensation of needing to use the toilet, to be able to get to the toilet in time, or not wanting to let others help with issues of bladder leakage due to embarrassment.
It was through this knowledge that I was able to equip myself with the patience and understanding it required to help my grandmother with her incontinence issues. And after lots of time and patience on my part, as a caretaker, we were able to work together to create a plan of action that best suited my grandmother’s incontinence needs. We were able to turn embarrassing, exhausting moments into lessons in time management, preparedness, and compassion.
So, here are my best tips to help caretakers aid elderly loved one’s deal with incontinence.
Keeping the urinary tract healthy is a good first step to preventing toilet problems and incontinence; loved one’s with overactive bladder symptoms should replace drinks that irritate the bladder, such as tea, coffee, cola, with water, herbal teas, and fruit drinks. As caretakers we must make sure our loved one’s drink six to eight glasses of fluids each day, being mindful that cutting down fluids for long periods of time, such as at night, can cause urinary tract infections and constipation. We must also help to keep our loved one’s as mobile as they can. Walking every day helps with getting loved one’s quickly prepared for quick trips to the bathroom.
Giving regular reminders to loved one’s about using the can greatly help prevent accidents. For someone with urinary incontinence, the caregiver should ask loved one’s every 2-4 hours whether the person needs the toilet in a calm, positive manner. Prompting needs to be done sensitively. Avoid patronizing. This can help reduce the number of accidents.
Watch for signs that loved one’s need to go to the toilet, even if they cannot communicate this directly. Signs may include fidgeting, pacing, standing up and down, or pulling at their clothes.
Incontinence can lead to skin irritation and discomfort for loved ones. After an accident, it is important for caretakers to act quickly to make sure loved one’s feels comfortable again by making sure they wash afterwards with mild soap and warm water, laundering soiled clothing as soon as possible, and being aware of any irritating rashes that come about.
When dealing with a loved one’s incontinence issues as a caretaker, your best tool is to create an environment of success for your loved one. For us this meant creating a bathroom that promoted proper hygiene and health. A few ways we did this were by:
1) Dedicating an entire bathroom for my grandmother’s use only. This allowed her privacy, dignity, and autonomy over her own bathroom space.
2) We cultivated a calm, neutral space. We painted the walls white and used breathable natural linens to ensure the bathroom would be a quiet, serene space.
3) We created a Daily Bathroom Usage Station. We placed a visible, easy-to-access basket containing the hygiene products I could anticipate as her caretaker she would need for each visit to the bathroom. Her basket was placed on top of her bathroom toilet, which gave her all the tools for success she needed to have successful bathroom visits at home each and every time.
In her basket we included:
- Poise® Maximum Absorbency Pads (for daily wear)
- Depend® Fit-Flex® Underwear (for overnight support)
- No-Rinse 2-in-1 Shampoo and Body Wash
- Hand Sanitizer
- Bamboo wash cloths
- Pack of wipes
- Aloe Vera Plant (located next to basket for rash first aid treatments)
We also included a clipboard mounted above the toilet with My Daily Bathroom Visit Sheet. The sheet listed just little reminders so my grandmother was able to be gently reminded of how she needed to best safeguard her own health while using the bathroom, and maintained more of her dignity and autonomy in the process, too! Next to her reminders sheet, we keep a second clip board of paper and a pen to joy down any notes we need to mention on her next follow-up visit to the doctor, dealing with urinary or bladder symptoms.
I’ve included a copy of my print out for those who could use it as well. Just right click to save.
Now, of all the products we stocked in her Daily Bathroom Usage Station, we could come to consider the Poise® Liners to be one of our ultimate tools in care giving success. These awesome pads, which can be worn both day and night, help to draw fluids away from the skin, helping to keep my grandmother comfortable without chafing or leaking.
Another bonus? Should my grandmother have needed extra time in getting to the bathroom, Poise® Liners provided her with the extra absorbency needed to give you the confidence and protection for your Light Bladder Leakage to and from bathroom visits. And Poise® Liners come with absorb-loc® core technology, which quickly locks away wetness and odor, with leak-block sides that provide worry-free protection leaving your loved one happy, health, and secure. As any caretaker will tell you, sometimes the confidence in knowing you have just one extra minute in getting a loved one to the bathroom, can make all the difference in the world! This extra protection was a lifesaver for us both!
I cannot tell you how much of a lifesaver it was to equip my grandmother with Poise® Liners because they helped her to maintain her dignity, and it made my job as a caretaker much easier during our first few seasons of establishing my grandmother’s healthy bathroom habits schedule.
While my grandmother always preferred the Poise® Maximum Absorbency Pads we also used the Depend® Fit-Flex® Underwear for Women for overnight needs, so we always made sure to keep them stocked-up at home! What was really nice is that not only did my grandmother love using her pads, she would often request them by name.
So, for me, it was super simple just to pick up a pack of Depend® Fit-Flex® Underwear and Poise® Liners when I was in-club at my local Sam’s Club, during my monthly shopping trips. And when she saw me bring in the big, purple box into the house, she always knew just who they were for!
And as a savvy saver, I appreciated being able to pick up my caregivers products like Depend® and Poise®, in club at Sam’s. Right by the pharmacy counter, I am also able to pick-up my other care giving demands like wipes, santizer, and No-Rinse products at affordable pricing, making Sam’s Club my one-stop destination for all of my care giving needs.
Also, our local Sam’s Club has a pharmacy, an optical center, hearing aid center plus offer free health screenings every month. So, when someone in our family, including my grandmother, needed any of these services Sam’s was always our first stop! Being a member of Sam’s Club saves me not only money, but time. Valuable time that could be given back to my family and care giving responsibilities.
Now, what really neat is that currently at Sam’s club, when you scan the new and scan the new boxes of Depend® and Poise® products, you can access the Sam’s Club Family Caregiving website. This site gives you tips and ideas for items that caregivers need on daily basis.
Also, when in-club purchasing Depends and Poise products remember:
- If you download the Digimarc Discovery app, you can scan anywhere on the packaging, and it will take you to the Sam’s club Caregiver website.
- When you open your depend packaging, there will have a sticker inside, that you can use to redeem at your local Sam’s Club pharmacy for an awesome caregiver sample kit!
So, savvy savers? Do you know someone who could use a Daily Bathroom Usage Station? Then I encourage you to be sure and check out Sam’s Club Caregiving website for more ideas.
Here’s to caring,