Although it is not something that is freely talked about, incontinence in elderly individuals is not uncommon. One study by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) found that more than half of people over the age of 65 who were living at home experienced some form of incontinence (though not always on a regular or repeated basis).
Since incontinence in elderly people happens with some frequency, it pays to have helpful tips on controlling or handling incontinence. Following are several tips which may come in handy.
- Drink plenty of water. This may seem counterintuitive, but one of the main causes of incontinence in elderly people (and younger ones, too) is not drinking enough water. Yes, too much water may make a person need to urinate more quickly, but too little water can create bladder irritation that contributes to incontinence.
- Locate the bathrooms. When going out (to dinner, to the mall, etc.), find out where the restrooms are located as soon as you get there. Knowing where the bathrooms are when the urge strikes will help safeguard against accidents. By the same token, when planning a long car trip, be aware of where rest stops will be located along the route.
- Don’t wait until the call comes. Too many times, a person with incontinence lets the bladder get full before seeking a bathroom. Instead, they need to plan on visiting the bathroom every two or three hours. Voiding on a regular basis will keep the bladder from overfilling, thus reducing accidents.
- Work the pelvis. Kegels are exercises which work the muscles in the pelvis that are used to control the flow of urine. Regular Kegel exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, giving a person more control over urine expulsion. To exercise them, squeeze the muscles and hold in that state for 10-20 seconds, then release, and repeat 10 times. Try to do 3 sets of 10 reps each, several times a day.
- Lose a few pounds. There’s a link between incontinence and being overweight — so if a person can stand to shed a few pounds, they should make an effort to do so.
Incontinence in elderly individuals can be a challenge. But taking steps to deal with it can lead to positive results.