A urinary tract infection is very painful and irritating to a regular person, but in the elderly it can be very serious as they may not report a discomfort or an issue before it becomes a problem, or they may not remember to consistently take the antibiotics prescribed to treat the infection. If left untreated, a urinary tract infection can lead to other problems like infection of the kidneys.
What if you are caring for a loved one that is dealing with incontinence? You may struggle to get them to frequently change their incontinence undergarments as they can forget – or just find it to be a hassle. Remind them of the importance of changing their diapers to prevent infections and then consider using a timer or clock that will remind them to change their underwear. Having a clock is a great way to remind yourself to check up on them as well. Set the clock for every 2 hours or however frequently they seem to soil their undergarments. If they have a fecal incontinence problem it is important that you make sure they change them right away as the bacteria in the fecal matter can cause serious problems.
A big part of managing incontinence comes down to diligence and proper care of the genital area. If you do not properly cleanse all the skin in this area after changing out the incontinence products, the urine can lead to very painful skin rashes along with other issues like urinary tract infections. Because their increasingly thinning and sensitive skin is more vulnerable to irritation from exposure to urine, elderly individuals are placed at a greater risk for urinary tract infections when they are experiencing incontinence.
As a caregiver of an elderly loved one, you need to focus your efforts on helping your loved one to change out their incontinence underwear and to wash their skin so they do not become susceptible to urinary tract infections. There are some great incontinence products on the market that you can use. Some people use sanitary wipes each time they change their incontinence products, which is a great way to remove the urine from the skin. Flushable wipes are a great option instead of using a towel or even wet toilet paper to clean the urine from the skin.
Another thing you can do is to purchase the right type of incontinence products. Purchasing high quality incontinence products will be able to help remove urine from the skin and will allow air to get in, allowing the skin to breathe. A lot of people find that they can easily manage their condition by using a pad where others may need to opt for adult diapers or some type of incontinence product that provides additional protection.
Make sure that the incontinence underwear is frequently changes. If it is worn too long, it will end up leading to infections. You need to make sure that the garments are changed each time they are soiled instead of waiting for them to become completely filled. When you do this, you remove the bacteria found in the urine and fecal matter that may end up leading to a painful urinary tract infection. Since you may need to change incontinence underwear frequently, you might consider using washable products instead of disposable ones. This will save you more money on your incontinence supplies as you only need to invest in them once a year or so instead of needing to make multiple purchases each month deal with your incontinence problem.
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.