Seniors, Dementia, And Incontinence, Is There A Link?

Jul 19 2018

Seniors, Dementia, And Incontinence, Is There A Link?

Seniors, dementia, and incontinence, Is there a link between them? The answer is yes.



Seniors: Incontinence In Dementia Patients

Aging can naturally bring on a variety of illnesses and chronic conditions. For example, side effects of medication, pre exisiting conditions such as irritable bowl syndrome, or urinary tract infections.

Seniors can also develop dementia and Alzheimer’s disease which in turn can lead to incontinence. Damage to nerve pathways in the brain that are involved in bladder and bowel control can bring the following outcomes:

– Not being able to communicate
– Forgetting until it’s too late
– Mobility problems
– Struggling to recognize or remember


Seniors: Incontinence Due To Physical Aging

Incontinence can also happen due to physical decline. It may be due to:

  • Weak bladder muscles
  • Overactive bladder muscles
  • Weak pelvic floor muscles
  • Damage to nerves that control the bladder from diseases such as multiple sclerosis, diabetes, or Parkinson’s disease
  • Blockage from an enlarged prostate in men
  • Diseases such as arthritis that may make it difficult to get to the bath­room in time
  • Pelvic organs are out of place, so the bladder and urethra are not able to work normally, which may cause urine to leak.


Seniors: Incontinence And Medications

An unavoidable truism is that medications may cause side effects. While the specific health issue may improve, new health problems can arise.

Medications that seniors take for diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiac issues, or depression can make incontinence worse. For example, Lasix, a diuretic, taken for heart or kidney issues, can also push the aged to the bathroom more often.


Seniors: Managing Incontinence

Seniors in the later stages of Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease often have problems with urinary incontinence. To minimize the chance of accidents, here are some tips:

  • Avoid giving drinks like caffeinated coffee, tea, and sodas, which may increase urination. But don’t limit water.
  • Keep pathways clear and the bathroom clutter-free, with a light on at all times.
  • Supply underwear that is easy to get on and off.
  • Use absorbent underclothes for trips away from home.
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Barry G

Barry graduated from City University of New York and holds a Ph.D. in Physiological Psychology.

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