Managing Elderly Incontinence: Tips and Techniques for Families, Nurses, and Caregivers

As people age, especially those who have severe cognitive disorders like Alzheimer's or dementia, incontinence—the inability to control one's pee or defecation—becomes increasingly difficult. In most cases, providing medical assistance to patients at home results in a heavy reliance on caregivers. That said, the

prevention of pressure ulcers and infection, along with improving an elderly person's dignity and living conditions, depends on a comprehensive nursing treatment program for urinary incontinence.

What Is Incontinence?

Incontinence, collectively, is meant to refer to both urine and bowel incontinence. When bladder control is lost and involuntary urine leaks occur, this is characterized as urinary continence. Contrarily, feces might leak from the rectum due to bowel incontinence, which is the failure to regulate bowel motions.

Continence can occur at any age, but it tends to affect seniors more frequently. One in two women over the age of 65 occasionally have bladder leakage, and as you grow older, changes in your body may increase your risk of developing geriatric urinary incontinence. Meanwhile, incontinence might be brought on by ageing normally, leading a certain lifestyle, or a variety of medical issues.

What Various Kinds of Incontinence Are There?

  • Stress Urinary Incontinence. Urine leaks as a result of pressure being exerted on the bladder. Whether someone is giggling, sneezing, or moving, it frequently occurs.

  • Urge Incontinence. Urine leaks because the urge to urinate is so sudden and strong that it is impossible to control, like that of an overactive bladder. Elderly people frequently experience this, particularly those with diabetes and lower urinary tract symptoms or a urinary tract infection.

  • Overflow Incontinence. It happens because the bladder has not yet entirely emptied, which results in urine dribbling.

  • Functional Incontinence. It arises when a physical or psychological disability makes it difficult to urinate when it should. Something like this frequently happens to elderly patients after a stroke.

  • Stool Incontinence. It occurs when the need to urinate cannot be suppressed and stool seeps from the rectum.

Types, Symptoms, and Frequent Causes of Urinary Incontinence


Depending on what kind of incontinence a person has, several symptoms may be present. Passive incontinence, for one, is the act of passing stool without knowing it. While urge fecal incontinence is the condition in which a person experiences an urge yet is unable to control the passage of the incontinence. Other issues including diarrhea, constipation, and a bloated stomach from gas will also affect people with fecal incontinence or mixed incontinence, from stress incontinence and urge incontinence.

In comparison to solid stools, loose, watery diarrheal stools easily fill the rectum to the extent that they are hard to keep in. For people who do not reside in hospital wards and perhaps other comparable institutions, this represents the most prevalent risk factor for incontinence. Digestive and kidney diseases, as well as issues with the digestive tract including proctitis, irritable bowel syndrome, or inflammatory bowel disease, may be to blame.

On the other side, constipation results in heavy, challenging-to-pass feces. The muscles in your rectum are stretched and get weaker as a result of the hard stools. And hence, the weaker muscles allowed the watery stools that had accumulated behind the solid stool to evacuate.


For both men and women, the following medical conditions can result in urine and bowel incontinence:

  • Neurological conditions include stroke, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, Alzheimer's, and dementia.

  • Lifestyle and ecological difficulties, like eating poorly, insufficient toilet facilities, and a need for caregivers for movement, as well as communication problems.

  • Age

  • Physical impairment

  • Impaired memory, confusion, and severe cognitive deficits

  • Challenges in learning

  • Postpartum injuries like anal sphincter injuries

  • Atrophic pelvic floor muscles

  • Third-degree hemorrhoids, benign prostatic hyperplasia, rectal prolapse, pelvic organ prolapse, and an enlarged prostate

  • Fecal overload

  • Post-radiotherapy treatment

Providing Care for Older Folks Dealing with Incontinence 

Incontinence is a touchy subject that is comparable to the proverbial room full of elephants. Although no one wants to talk about it, discussions regarding this medical condition are essential. Several research studies, also have revealed that people with this problem often feel alone. Moreover, close relatives or professional nurses from facilities that offer such services typically provide care for incontinent persons. Meanwhile, the following recommendations are given to caregivers to assist them to manage urinary incontinence in elderly people.

Consult a Doctor

When one notices indicators of incontinence, they should be sent to the doctor so they can be examined for any potential infections, including urinary tract infections, or other medical conditions. It is also important to consider that incontinence is not a typical progression with aging.

Beware of Foods and Beverages that May Cause Bladder Issues

It is advisable to drink fluids throughout the day rather than at night because drinking too much fluid will increase how often you need to urinate. Avoid alcohol and beverages with caffeine. Yet, having insufficient fluids would result in very concentrated pee, dark yellow in colour, and odorous. Avoid foods and beverages that can irritate your bladder, including spicy meals, items with tomatoes, carbonated beverages, and chocolate.

Employ a Tailored Bladder Training

To accomplish this, you must first recognize your bladder's pattern and train it to pass urine regularly.

Waterproofing Furnitures

The most frequently used furniture must be waterproofed, and comparable precautions should be taken with the mattress and pillows. Together with waterproof sofa cushions, seat covers, and big absorbent bed pads, utilize fabric protectors.

Keep a Light, Calming Atmosphere

Treating incontinence as a common occurrence will help to reduce stress. In order for them to get through it, encourage them, clean up, and even present them with the amusing aspect of daily life.

Have a Kit for Handling Incontinence

A change of clothing, incontinence underwear, individual cleansing wipes, and cleaning supplies would all be put in a backpack. Also, it is useful if an elderly loved one should always travel.

Use Easy to Change Clothing Instead

Pick pants with elastic waistbands, for example, which are simple to wash and change into. Consider specialized adaptable clothing as well, and stay away from items with several fastenings.

Get Rid of the Stale Smells

Get air sanitisers, odor reducers, and fragrant disinfectants to achieve this.

Regular Diaper Change

Undoubtedly among the most critical facets of caring for an older loved one, it will also require a significant financial outlay. An elderly individual with incontinence would need 150 diapers each month since diaper changes take place at least 5 to 8 times daily. Often checking and changing soiled diapers is another responsibility of caregivers.

Pressure Ulcers

It is a result of limited mobility which begins with pressure exalted over a long period of time. To care for and prevent ulcers, try to provide nutrition with a balanced diet and good hydration, get them to move frequently since frequent movement prevents ulcers, maintain clean dry skin for your loved one, manage pressure ulcer forms, or get assistance from a home nurse.

Discuss with your elderly relative treatment approaches and urge them to consult a doctor or elderly care in Singapore if elderly incontinence is preventing them from engaging in their favourite activities and keeping them lonely. Also, your senior loved one might soon be living quite freely if they follow the right care regimen, perform pelvic floor exercises, and get sufficient treatment from the right authorities, including nursing homes in Singapore.


How Often Should I Change the Diapers?

To avoid rashes and skin infections, adult diapers should always be changed regularly. Regularity, meanwhile, is heavily influenced by the senior's lifestyle, health, and financial situation. The majority of people change their diapers 5–8 times per day. And a typical incontinent older person would therefore need a minimum of 150 diapers each month. Also, those who care for those who are not as mobile should frequently check to make sure their diapers are changed as soon as they get dirty.

How Can I Prevent Pressure Ulcers?

The skin and subcutaneous tissues are typically damaged locally by pressure ulcers. It typically happens as a result of sustained pressure placed on a specific area. Individuals who are incontinent, immobile, have chronic medical problems, and have inadequate nutrition are more likely to develop pressure ulcers. Do bear in mind that the accompanying care routine should be used for appropriate care and prevention of pressure ulcers: barrier cream, regular turning, employing a healthier nutrition lifestyle, frequent activities, and keeping their skin fresh and clean at all times.

What Should I Do When a Pressure Ulcer Forms?

If any redness appears, apply additional barrier cream, turn the elderly more regularly, and stay away from the red regions. While if you see any wound, call right away for help from a home or private nurse or accompany your seniors to the nurse at the health clinic to check the wound. Also, it was suggested to utilize cradle nursing and sarongs rather than diapers if they developed any rashes or wounds.

Redcrowns aims to help you live your senior years happily.
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What Is Incontinence?Types, Symptoms, and Frequent Causes of Urinary IncontinenceProviding Care for Older Folks Dealing with Incontinence FAQ

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