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Alzheimer’s disease and incontinence are two conditions that can be difficult to manage on their own. However, when these two conditions combine, it can be tough to balance the needs of the patient.
Usually seen in the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease, incontinence can be a messy and complicating factor in patient care, and it can be very discouraging and embarrassing for the patient. For Alzheimer's patients incontinence can be caused by many factors, such as mistaking random objects for a toilet, disorientation and confusion, stress, and more. Common causes for incontinence often include the following:
Common Medical Conditions
- Short Term: urinary tract infections, constipation, and prostate conditions - Long Term: diabetes, stroke, muscular disorders and physical disabilities
Diuretics and Medications
- Everyday beverage items, such as soda, coffee, and tea - Water pills and medications with “frequent urination” as a side effect - Bladder-relaxing medications (anti-anxiety medications, sleeping pills, etc.)
- Multiple layers - Too many buttons
Bathroom Location and Obstructions
- Patient’s inability to identify the bathroom or it’s location - Obstructions on the way to the bathroom
Caregiving an Alzheimer’s patient with incontinence can be made easier on both the caregiver and the patient with a few simple solutions. There are many incontinence care products that can be used to keep patients safe and clean. Adult briefs can keep patients stay fresh and dry, bedside commodes make toilet access easy during the nighttime, and underpads are effective in protecting furniture and bedding in the event of an accident. By helping the patient stay clean and dry, the caregiver is not only ensuring physical health, but also preserving emotional well-being.