Incontinence is Common Among the Elderly
Assisted Living and Memory Care can be brilliant choices for seniors who need senior living assistance. Providers offer community residents engaging activities, accessible clinical care, delicious meals, security, and regular social opportunities, and these are all aspects of senior living that families are excited to discuss. However, the query families routinely want to ask but are typically hesitant to do: “How do you care for seniors with incontinence?” While it may be difficult for some families to discuss, urinary incontinence is a common problem among the elderly. According to the World Health Organization, population-based studies indicate that urinary incontinence is as high as 36.1% and is twice as high in older women as in older men. Urinary incontinence has a significant effect on the quality of life of seniors, their subjective well-being, depression levels, and need for care.
Incontinence in Assisted Living
Incontinence is an unavoidable truth for many seniors. Most of these seniors utilize protective undergarments of some kind, and many reside in assisted living communities. It's important to realize that requiring adult diapers or assistance with incontinence is not an exclusion factor for assisted living care. In cases where the senior is aware and active but has difficulty with urinary incontinence, it's not a critical matter at all. Generally, these seniors can manage the condition with little to no assistance. Yet, regardless of whether the senior requires regular aid with toileting, most assisted living communities are fully prepared to provide such support, including establishing an appropriate schedule according to the needs of the senior.
Special consideration for seniors recently discharged from a rehabilitation facility: Sadly, it is not uncommon for seniors who have undergone rehabilitation to become incontinent. This may occur for many reasons; however, the unfortunate truth is that many rehabilitation facilities aren’t designed to help seniors regain continence, but most assisted living communities are equipped to provide that type of care to their residents. In the appropriate assisted living community, seniors with incontinence will receive the necessary support to reestablish their continence. With a scheduled toileting routine in place, their independence in this area is frequently restored.
Incontinence in Memory Care
Seniors in memory care communities who live with a cognitive or neurological disorder, such as frontotemporal dementia, Parkinson's disease, Lewy Bodies dementia, or Alzheimer's disease, commonly lose the capacity to fully control their toileting activities some point in the progression of their disease. This typically occurs later in the timeline of the disease. During this time, the brain stops sending the indicators that let the individual know they need to void, or the condition prevents them from appropriately processing those indicators to take suitable action. In most memory care communities, the staff realizes that a large portion of the residents either currently live with incontinence or will eventually become incontinent, so the team is trained to provide such care to residents as needed. Moreover, care plans for memory care residents usually include provisions related to incontinence care, toileting assistance, and proper supplies.
As you deliberate on assisted living or memory care options, please remember that “incontinence” is not a taboo word, or at least it shouldn’t be. Incontinence does not exclude an individual from assisted living or memory care services. If incontinence care is required for your senior, it should certainly be a part of your discussions with communities and your senior care advisor to ensure your senior receives the proper care they need.
For more information or no-cost assistance with independent living, assisted living, memory care, or other senior living options in Northern Virginia’s Prince William County, Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Arlington County, or Alexandria, please call our local elder care experts today at (703) 878-7870 or contact us via e-mail.