Most people don’t have to prioritize their trips to the bathroom, nor do they have to worry too much about not making it to the said bathroom in time. But when you live with incontinence, it’s a whole other story.
Up to 33 million people in America live with bladder leakage issues, many of them seniors. But why is it such a common ailment among the elderly and when is incontinent care necessary?
Learn more about aging and incontinence in this blog.
Is Incontinent Care Just Part of the Aging Process?
Many people assume that as you get older, incontinence becomes part of your daily life. When, in fact, there are many underlying causes of incontinence — it doesn’t just boil down to aging.
Incontinence means that a person struggles with an involuntary loss of urine or a lack of bladder control. And believe it or not, incontinence can strike at any age, not just among the elderly in assisted living facilities.
However, urinary incontinence in aging is common, and this is because of a host of changes in the body that can lead to loss of bladder control. Some of the most common causes in both men and women include:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Prostate issues in men
- The onset of menopause
- Childbirth and pelvic floor issues in women
As with many age-related health issues, incontinence comes in different forms and severities. Some seniors might only struggle with occasional leaking or dribbling urine. While others might experience a complete lack of bladder or bowel control.
For many seniors, functional incontinence is also common. This type of incontinence is the result of other disabilities that might hinder them from reaching the bathroom in time. Some of the most common include arthritis, stroke, and other neurological conditions.
Strategies To Cope With Incontinence
It’s no secret that living with the reality of incontinence is challenging and embarrassing at the best of times. No matter how old you are, losing bladder control equates to a loss of dignity.
But, there are ways to cope with incontinence and strategies that might help, such as:
- Visiting your doctor to refer you to a urology specialist — they can get to the bottom of what’s causing the incontinence
- Once you’re aware of the cause, medical assistance can help with managing the condition
- Pelvic floor/muscle exercises can help with bladder control (for mild cases of incontinence)
- Urgency suppression — practicing holding off the urge to urinate before you reach the bathroom
- Time blocking — scheduling times to urinate and setting reminders (i.e. every hour or so)
It’s important to note that just because a person is over the age of 65, does not mean that incontinence is automatically part of their daily life. As mentioned above, incontinence is often linked to co-occurring health issues.
Keep Your Health In-Check as You Age
If you or a loved one needs incontinent care it’s important to find the right healthcare provider who can diagnose the underlying cause of the issue. This way, you have a better chance of managing the condition, your lifestyle, and overall health.
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