Incontinence is a common problem among older adults. However, it is important, for both caregivers and seniors to understand that incontinence is not a normal part of aging. Rather there are conditions (some associated with aging) that can bring incontinence. It is also critical that both caregivers and seniors understand that there are things that can be done to reduce or even eliminate the problems associated with incontinence.
Often time when people think of incontinence, they associate the problem with a bedridden elderly person, who is unable to care for themselves. However, many seniors who are still active suffer from this debilitating problem. The good news is that there are things that can be done, that can help with the problem of incontinence. When a caregiver is aware of these factors, they too can play an integral part in helping the senior make the necessary changes to reduce the impact that incontinence can have on someone's life.
It is important to note that many seniors are embarrassed by the problem of incontinence, to the degree that they feel they cannot discuss it with their doctor or with those closest to them. Instead, they begin altering their life, to avoid situations where the incontinence can become embarrassing. This leads to a dramatic reduction in the quality of life, for the senior. It often falls to the caregiver to initiate the discussion about incontinence and what can be done to help it. The good news is that there are many things that the senior can do right at home, to help alleviate the problem of incontinence.
Here are some things that you can do to strengthen a weak bladder-
• Lose weight-Unfortunately, one of the major problems that is brought on by to much weight, can be incontinence. Sometimes, many seniors find that their incontinence is reduced or even eliminated, simply by losing a few pounds.
• Bladder retraining and exercises-For certain types of incontinence, bladder retraining can help reduce the amount of incontinence. Patients are encouraged to try to wait even a minute longer, when they feel the urge to urinate. They will then gradually extend the period of time, until they have to use the bathroom less often. In addition, Kegel exercises can make the pelvic floor much stronger, and help to reduce incidences of incontinence. Basically, the patient is urged to use the muscles that stop the flow of urine. While this can be a time consuming process, gradually the pelvic floor muscles do become stronger with this exercise.
• Changing what you eat and drink-While everyone first thought is incontinence is brought on by what you drink, what you eat has to deal with it too. There are some foods that can irritate the bladder such as: highly spicy food, foods that are highly processed and items with artificial sweetener. It can also be helpful to check with your doctor about any dietary recommendations. In addition, patients dealing with incontinence should avoid coffee, tea, and acidic juices. Instead, they should drink plenty of water and other drinks that are non-irritating. Above all, the patient should never limit the amount that they drink, as this can lead to serious dehydration.
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Incontinence is not a normal part of the aging process. Seniors are more at risk of developing incontinence from a variety of different factors.
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