The Ask the Expert Column appears in the Palm Beach Post every Tuesday!
Question: My mother is incontinent of bowl and urine, but is far too proud to wear adult diapers. What are my options?
Answer: There are a few ways to help manage incontinence. First, try the easiest approach, and don’t call diapers “diapers”. Use the words “adult briefs” instead as this may reduce the feelings of infantilization and help to preserve her dignity.
You can suggest that your mom try Poise Pads or actual adult briefs that act like a diaper and get the job done, but are much less bulky. Suggest that your mother only wear protection in the evenings or when going out, when a trip to the bathroom may be too far, and use other protection during the day.
A bedside commode is a good alternative for the slow-moving Alzheimer’s patient who may not be close to the bathroom and can help to avoid embarrassing accidents. Finally, during the day, remind your mother to go to the bathroom every 2 hours. These frequent, gentle reminders can help her get on a schedule, and with Alzheimer’s, that can mean a world of difference.
Impaction, urinary tract infections and medications can all also have an effect on incontinence, so check with your Doctor to see if any recent changes could be attributed to any of these causes. Please submit your questions to [email protected]
Elayne Forgie has been a professional geriatric care manager specializing in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia for more than 21 years. She was a founding Board Member of the Florida Geriatric Care Managers Association and is a member of the Case Management Society of America and the American Counseling Association.