Studies report that 50% of seniors struggle with incontinence. Here, we examine causes of incontinence to help people develop an understanding of this issue.
Incontinence comes with a lot of mixed emotions for most seniors. There is often a sense of embarrassment, shame, and the helplessness that comes with a loss of independence. Supporting seniors with incontinence takes patience, compassion, a sense of humor, and an understanding of the nature of incontinence. It is not a disorder or disease by itself, but it’s almost always symptomatic of a different problem. If you can identify the causes of incontinence in seniors, then you can provide adequate care.
As stated, incontinence is not a health condition, but it may have a health condition as an underlying cause. This may be a condition that directly relates to the bladder like a UTI, but it doesn’t have to be. For instance, health issues like Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, or a stroke can damage nerve endings and weaken muscles. This can make it difficult for seniors to hold in urine. Other health issues that impede mobility such as arthritis can make it difficult for seniors to get up and go to the bathroom even if they can control it, leading to accidents.
Physical ailments are not the only causes of incontinence in seniors. Seniors who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia are often struck with confusion or an inability to recognize their surroundings. This may make it difficult for them to recognize that they need to go to the bathroom or remember that they haven’t gone recently. Even if they are aware, they may not be able to remember where the bathroom is. On top of this, stress and anxiety—both of which contribute to accidents—are often heightened with dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Food or Drink
Most people have certain foods that don’t agree with them, and the same is true of seniors. In some cases, consuming these foods can trigger incontinence. Spicy, sugary, or rich foods, caffeine, and caffeinated beverages have all been cited as potential incontinence triggers. However, every patient is different. It’s good to keep a log of incontinence symptoms, including what was eaten beforehand to help identify patterns.