How can I manage incontinence at home?
Incontinence is a common issue for people of all ages. Whether you happen to be a carer or a person living with incontinence, you can take several steps to manage the problem and help ensure that incontinence does not affect living a normal, happy life.
What practical steps can a carer take to improve home life for a patient?
A person caring for a senior or someone living with incontinence needs to be sensitive to their condition and encourage a sense of independence. At the same time, the carer should interact with their patients – for example, playing games or cooking and eating with them to foster feelings of normalcy and self-esteem.
Carers, under a doctor’s instruction, can also help manage their patients’ incontinence in several ways, such as:
- Assist and support Kegel exercises, which strengthen the muscles that control urine and allow patients to hold their bladder for longer.
- Help patients better recognise their body signals.
- Chart urinating times to help seniors better understand when they should be using the bathroom.
- Encourage patients to monitor their diet. Foods, such as spicy dishes, tomatoes, citrus fruits and juices, can contribute to incontinence. Alcohol and caffeine can also exacerbate the problem.
What can I do to improve my situation when suffering from incontinence symptoms?
If you’re experiencing symptoms of incontinence, you should always consult your doctor or a medical professional. However, you can take a few steps to improve your life around the house.
You can try bladder training to help regain control over urination.
- Schedule bathroom trips whether you need to go or not, and try to gradually increase the time between trips. For example, if you’re going every hour, make it an hour and 15 minutes and continue to try to extend that time.
- Delay your urination for as long as you can while you’re on the toilet. Try counting backward from 50 to one or practise deep breathing to focus on something other than the urge.
- Do Kegel exercises and other pelvic floor exercises. To do a Kegel, you squeeze the muscles normally used to stop the flow of urine. Continually contract and release for five seconds. Try to get your contraction up to 10 seconds and three sets of 10 contractions a day.
You can also structure your environment to manage your incontinence more effectively.
- Give yourself clear access to the toilet at all times when at home, as this will help you prevent urge-related accidents.
- Choose easy-to-clean furniture and bedding, as well as using protectors on these items. Also, choose clothing that allows you to more easily use the toilet and is simple to wash.
- Organise your nightly routine when it comes to bathroom orientation. Arrange things in such a way that you’re closer to the toilet and have fail-safes that protect against accidents, such as washable non-slip mats.
- You can use non-intrusive incontinence products to help boost your confidence when moving around and remaining social.
With the right practices and habits, you can enjoy your life to the fullest even when living with incontinence.