May 4, 2009 -- Question: How do I best deal with the incontinence issues that arise when caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's?
Answer: Incontinence, of course, can involve urine, or more than urine, stool as well. And the most important thing about incontinence is to assess the cause. That's to say bladder infections and other problems with the urinary system are common in older people. And so, the first thing to do is to do a medical evaluation and make sure that there isn't a cause for the incontinence, in addition to the memory problems.
And there, of course, the problem can be that somebody literally forgets that they need to go to the bathroom. However, there is one very important key to incontinence, once you've done that medical evaluation to ensure there aren't other causes, and that's to keep the bladder empty, to have a regular program of voiding and emptying the bladder, because that regularity will help the person stay continent. And also keeping the bladder empty, of course, does help in avoiding accidents.