10 tips for providing better incontinence care for people with dementia

Providing care at home for an elderly relative, loved one or friend with bladder issues is an all-consuming task. If this person also has dementia, this only adds to the challenge. With a dementia diagnosis, the normal issues that need to be addressed when helping seniors – assisting with toilet visits, using incontinence products, monitoring skin health – take on a new dimension.

At TENA, our pants, , skincare and other products help millions of care givers manage urine leakage and incontinence more effectively. They also let seniors live more comfortably and with dignity. However, before products come into the picture, there are some key facts about incontinence and dementia that need to be considered. In this situation, the loved one often finds him or herself –
  • Unable to communicate a need to use the toilet
  • Unable to find, recognise or use a toilet
  • Refusing help because they are ashamed or embarrassed, which leads to accidental voiding
As a care giver, it’s important you understand and recognise these situations. At the same time, you should also know that there are many things you can do to increase the quality of care you provide. The list we’ve compiled below will hopefully help you increase the quality of life for your relative or loved one and help you cope better with a little less stress.  
  1. ENCOURAGE - encourage the person in your care to ask for help, get them involved and inform them of what you’re doing. It’s important to get their approval and to feel that they are contributing to their own care.

  2. LIGHT - leave the toilet door open and lights on at night. Light motion sensors are also great if this is an option as is a commode by the bed.

  3. COLOUR CODING - mark the toilet, light switch, toilet seat in some way and use contrasting colours – colour coding is excellent for jogging the memory and a coloured, contrasting toilet seat can also be useful for positioning.

  4. PRACTICAL CLOTHING - clothes that can be easily put on and taken off are a great help.

  5. CHOOSE SUITABLE INCONTINENCE PRODUCTS - if your relative or loved one is using incontinence products, pants could be the best alternative due to their ease of use. Also, choose carefully in terms of size and absorption capacity – click here (LINK) to find the right product from the TENA range.

  6. DON’T SKIP TOILET VISITS – if they have an accident, the feeling of embarrassment could remain with them and affect future toilet planning.

  7. FOLLOW A ROUTINE - 4-6 times a day and perhaps a visit at night are common for those over 60. However, use common sense and try to be flexible.

  8. NO SUBSTITUTE FOR THE TOILET - never use incontinence products as a substitute for toilet visits.

  9. BE POSITIVE - giving praise and maintaining a positive attitude works wonders.

  10. EMPTY BLADDER CORRECTLY - when visiting the toilet, make sure the bladder is emptied as much as possible – you can read some handy tips on this below.

Four tips for more effective bladder emptying

For people affected by , emptying the bladder completely during a toilet visit has many benefits. Doing this effectively reduces the chances of bacteria thriving in remaining urine and causing urinary and skin infections – and from a care perspective, it means your loved one is more comfortable and the practical burden on you can be reduced. However, if this person suffers from dementia and incontinence, this can create new challenges. Here are our top four tips to more effective bladder emptying in these circumstances.
  1. Take time - don’t rush it and make sure it’s peaceful and quiet. Help your loved one find a good sitting posture by supporting the feet and enabling them to lean forward. You can also help them move position a couple of times.
  2. Use a pillow - in case of frailness or thinness, use a soft pillow-ring to make the toilet seat comfortable. 

  3. Show how it’s done – it could be that the dementia sufferer simply doesn’t know what you want them to do. In this case, show them how to sit on the toilet.

  4. Apps can help – mobile phone apps that replicate the sound of running water are available. These can be used to facilitate voiding.
It’s important to understand the special needs of the person with dementia, apply our tips every day and help them void more effectively. We hope this information makes a positive difference to the life of your loved one as well as for you as a care giver.
For more information on how TENA products can help your relative or loved one, click here.