Alzheimer’s disease, a common form of dementia, is a result of plaque build-up that destroys brain tissue. Many men with an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis also have incontinence. Here’s what you need to know.
Alzheimer’s and Incontinence
Be a detective
Urinary incontinence is not an inevitable fact of Alzheimer’s. Therefore, if incontinence becomes a concern there are some things you can do to improve outcomes.
Look for causes and clues:
- Medications – certain medications can as a result worsen or induce urinary incontinence or UI.
- Infections – urinary tract infections are linked to incontinence.
- Cumbersome clothing – if you or a loved one is managing UI opt for clothing that is easy to manipulate and remove.
- Memory – Later stages of Alzheimer’s may make remembering where the bathroom is located difficult. Do what you can to make the bathroom stand out more. Ideas include leaving the door open or the light on at night.
- Constipation – aim for adequate fiber and fluid intake. Constipation can contribute to incontinence.
- Poor mobility – declining motor skills may make it difficult to comfortably get to or use the toilet. Remove any obstacles or items likely to cause a spill along the path to the bathroom. Use bars, raised seating and other supports to make toileting safer and easier.
- Establish patterns – notice when accidents typically happen and offer prompts to toilet in advance.
- Prostate health – problems with prostate can lead to incontinence. Talk with your healthcare provider for treatment of prostate problems.
- Inability to recognize the need to urinate – again, offer prompts if the ability to notice the need to void become apparent.
Managing incontinence can be stressful and requires patience and creativity for everyone involved. What’s most important to remember is that UI can be managed. In fact, millions of men are living active lives with urinary incontinence. New options, such as Men’s Liberty, are making it easier even with Alzheimer’s disease to do so with more dignity, freedom and confidence.