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Choosing Undergarments

One of the best things you can do when choosing undergarments for your loved one is to shop and try multiple products until you find the one that works best for your loved one.  You will be amazed at how many incontinence products there are to choose from, so here are some important questions to consider to help you find the right one. 

The first thing to take into account when choosing undergarments is the level of absorbency that the undergarments provide. You need to know just how much urine the undergarments will absorb before they start leaking. You also want to look into how the urine is absorbed; different products offer different methods, some of which can cause leaks faster.

The second question to keep in mind is whether you are trying to protect against full or partial bladder emptying. If you are dealing with full bladder issues or stool incontinence you will want to choose protective underwear or briefs. If you are dealing with partial bladder leaking or even constant leaking, but in small amounts, you can select a smaller product, pads, or guards.

Next, consider frequency. You will need to consider the frequency of changes. How often is the product you are using needing to be changed? If you plan to change the product every couple of hours, you can choose something that is more discreet and has less absorbency. If the elderly person is going to be wearing the product for an extended period of time, or even throughout the night, you will need to select something that is more absorbent. You can also have one product for daytime use and one for nighttime use.

How often will the person have access to a bathroom and how active will they be? These also play an important role in what undergarment you should select. If the person won’t be able to frequent a bathroom on a regular basis, or if they are going to be in various social situations that make changing their undergarments awkward, you want to choose a product that can be easily changed. How active they are will affect whether or not you choose a product that has elasticized leg openings, which will prevent any leaks from the side of the undergarment from constant movement.

Think about how you plan to change the product. If you plan to have them lie down to change the undergarment you can go with a brief style undergarment. If you want to readjust the undergarment or plan on reusing the undergarment later on, you will want to select undergarments with refastenable Velcro tabs. If you prefer to have the elderly one stand up while changing their undergarments, you can use the protective underwear, or you can use pads, guards, or belted undergarments.

The level of assistance that is required when putting on the undergarments is another factor that you need to think about. If your  loved one will have a hard time buckling things, you do not want to choose a product that has to be buckled, unless you have somebody who can help them with putting the undergarment on and taking it off. 

Finally, you need to consider the cost and size when choosing undergarments for the elderly. As money can be tight for caregivers on a budget, please look at the total cost of the product.  You want to compare the cost to how often you have to change the undergarment to ensure you are getting the best deal. You can also compare the cost of purchasing reusable products, which will be more expensive in the beginning, but will save money over time.

About Caregiving 101: Being a caregiver for an elderly loved one can be difficult and overwhelming. It can be even more of a challenge if you are dealing with issues of your own.  However, there are resources to help. Membership in Caregiving101.com gives you access to a library of caregiving articles by issue, entertainment and activities for you and your loved one to enjoy, product reviews of items to make your lives a little easier, recipes and tips for quick meals, and livestream classes. 

About R.O.S Therapy Systems: R.O.S. Therapy Systems began as a backyard project in 2010. Scott Silknitter was searching for tools to help his mother care for his father, Roger Owen Silknitter, during a 25-year fight with Parkinson’s disease and dementia. That project became a personal mission to help all family caregivers. From family caregiver training and activity books to mobile apps to activity systems, R.O.S. has grown to become a single-source provider of informational “how to’s” and a growing provider of adaptive tools for the millions of husbands, wives, children, and family members that become caregivers.

Common sense advice and instruction based on proven principles of communication, engagement, and daily living are the heart of everything R.O.S. offers for family caregivers. Improving quality of life for caregivers is our mission, and designing everything for a family caregiver struggling with a loved one is the starting point. Whether it is dementia, diabetes, Parkinson’s, ALS, stroke, visual impairment, developmental disabilities, or any other issue that forces someone to care for a loved one, R.O.S. and its Caregiving 101 program are here to help.