Senior care | October 29, 2022
Imagine planning your life around the fear that you may lose bladder control. You might rethink attending the latest Broadway show. Perhaps you’ll begin to skip church and social functions or begin to dine with friends less frequently to avoid the embarrassment of frequent trips to the bathroom. Waiting in a long line could become voicing and intimidating your fears would be unthinkable. While the prevalence of urinary incontinence increases with age, it is not a normal part of aging, and it does not define what it means to become older. It can, however, have a noticeable impact on the lives and emotions of senior adults who suffer from it.
Incontinence affects 200 million people worldwide, both men and women. It is the most prevalent problem in the senior population, yet few seniors want to discuss this problem with their doctors because they are embarrassed or believe this is a normal part of aging with which they must simply learn to cope. Without guidance and treatment from medical professionals, seniors who experience loss of bladder control may find the issue controls their lives.
Older adults who suffer from incontinence often battle anxiety and depression because of negative perceptions about their inability to control basic bodily functions. This can trigger a vicious cycle where the older adult starts to withdraw from activities he or she once enjoyed and begins to lose self-efficacy, which in turn contributes to depression. As a result, the senior’s overall quality of life starts to decline.
This withdrawal due to incontinence may also cause the older adult to become more dependent on others’ help with daily activities, such as running errands or shopping, and with personal hygiene. For family caregivers, this change can often be the catalyst for sending the older adult to a nursing home or assisted living facility, which can be costly and may additionally reduce the senior’s quality of life as he or she loses independence.
Seniors who experience incontinence should first speak with their doctors about the problem. There are many home therapies and treatments for managing or curing the condition so that the senior’s activities are not restricted. If the senior is suffering from anxiety and depression over the condition, his or her doctor can refer the individual to a professional trained in helping the person cope with incontinence issues.
Families who are concerned about a senior family member’s hygiene and health can also seek the help of professional in-home caregivers, such as Comfort Keepers®, who are trained in incontinence management and can assist with personal hygiene. Families can also offer support to the individual and let him or her know that incontinence is nothing to be ashamed of and that the condition can be treated while leaving the senior’s dignity intact.
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Online version: http://www.comfortkeepers.com/home/info-center/articles/overcoming-socialand-emotional-impact