Incontinence Care and Supplies
Incontinence is the loss of control of your bladder and/or bowel. Some studies suggest incontinence could affect more than half of seniors at one time or another. Incontinence can affect many seniors’ social lives because they do not wish to be out in public. For others, it can affect their health by obstructing them from exercise and recreational activities. Incontinence can be treated in a number of ways, so it's best to see a Urologist to find a treatment for your medical needs. Products such as catheters, adult diapers, and absorbent pads, are just some of the products most commonly used to treat this disorder.
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Forms and Symptoms of Incontinence Among Senior Citizens
Most commonly, incontinence affects bladder control, but it still can affect proper bowel functioning. It is also more prevalent in women. Some of the main ailments that cause incontinence are diabetes, prostrate problems, being overweight or obesity, dementia or other memory loss issues, arthritis, and diseases such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s. Because the anatomy of men and women are different, we will break this section into the most common forms and symptoms for men and women separately.
Symptoms amoung Men
- Overactive bladder, sometimes referred to as urge incontinence, in which the senior feels the need to urinate frequently.
- Stress incontinence is where small amounts of urine come out unexpectedly when one coughs, sneezes, performs strenuous activities, or during sexual intercourse.
- Overflow incontinence pertains to when the bladder never fully feels empty.
- Prostrate incontinence affects men with either an enlarged prostate, an infection, or have undergone surgery on the prostrate in the past.
- Functional incontinence refers to the inability to properly use the toilet, usually because of some physical impairment.
Symptoms among Women
Women often suffer incontinence more frequently for two main reasons: childbirth and menopause. Urinary tract infections are also more common for women, but men are not immune from them.
- Overactive bladder is usually related to menopause.
- Stress incontinence generally occurs in women that have had children.
- Functional incontinence (see men).
- Overflow incontinence (see men).
***It is important to note that both men and women can be suffering from more than one form of incontinence symptoms***
Treatment versus Managing Incontinence
Incontinence care usually has two distinctions: treatment versus management (living with continence). Always make an appointment with a urologist to find out if you requirement treatment or management.
Forms of Treatement
- Bladder training and strengthening usually with the help of physical therapy
- Avoiding certain foods
- Surgery is usually a last resort, but it is available for certain conditions
Types of Management
- Discovering your triggers and either working to ignore them or whatever other options you and your doctor have discussed.
- Choosing the correct adult diaper that has the right absorbency, bulkiness, sound, restriction of movement, odor control, etc. It is also important to note that incontinence can affect seniors more at night then during the day.
- Washable underwear, pads, and bedcovers are some other commonly used incontinence supplies for seniors.
- Using the toilet safely and easily, especially considering restricted mobility, catheters, and those that are bedridden.
- How to clean the skin when changing.
- Recognizing the signs of a urinary tract infection as they become more common with catheters and adult diapers.
Cost of Incontinence Supplies
Medicare will pay for catheters. Adult diapers are not covered by Medicare however, which means that you or a third party will often have to pay for them. Medicaid will sometimes pay for them, so if you qualify for Medicaid, it is worth looking into. There also diaper banks that can help, so check in your area. Adult diapers are a tax deductible, so keep your receipts for them in most states.
The cost for incontinence supplies depends on the severity and thus the amount of supplies used to treat incontinence. One estimate suggested $900 dollars per year for seniors with severe incontinence.