Caring for the elderly is a responsibility that demands patience, understanding and a vast knowledge of their physical and emotional needs. One of the most sensitive challenges faced by caregivers is how to help an elderly person with toileting, especially if the senior struggles with incontinence.
However, with the right tools, knowledge and approach, caregivers can ensure that the elderly receive the dignity, respect and care they deserve during this intimate task.
In this article, we will explore toileting tips for caregivers and discuss everything from bathroom setups to the importance of seeking medical advice.
1. Secure bathroom toilets.
When considering how to help an elderly person with toileting, it’s essential to start with where the assistance is needed: the bathroom toilet.
- Safety first. Install grab bars around the toilet to provide support while sitting or standing. Non-slip mats can prevent accidental falls on wet floors.
- Adjust toilet height. A raised toilet seat can make sitting down and standing up easier for seniors. This modification decreases the distance they have to move, reducing the risk of falls.
- Prioritize easy access. See to it that the path to the toilet is clear of clutter. At night, consider using nightlights to illuminate the way.
2. Try using the commode as an alternative.
For seniors with mobility challenges, a commode can be a more accessible option. Here’s how to provide optimal assistance:
- Choose the right commode that fits the user’s needs. Here are different types that you can look into:
- Bedside commodes
- Wheeled commodes
- Shower commodes
- Place the commode in a location that’s easy to access, perhaps beside the bed for nighttime use.
- Maintain hygiene. Regularly clean the commode to prevent infections. Always wear gloves when emptying the bucket and make sure to disinfect it.
3. Make use of incontinence products.
To manage incontinence, you can use a range of products to make the process smoother.
- Disposable adult diapers: These are designed for maximum absorbency and are available in various sizes.
- Reusable underpads: These can be placed on beds or chairs to protect surfaces from accidental leaks.
- Incontinence pads: Similar to menstrual pads, incontinence pads are designed to capture bladder leaks.
- Barrier creams: These can be applied to the skin to prevent irritation from moisture.
4. Look into using catheters.
Catheters are beneficial for those who can’t control their bladders.
Types of cathetters include:
- Intermittent catheters: This type is inserted to drain the bladder and then removed. If assisting a patient with toileting using this method, make sure that your hands and the area are clean.
- Indwelling catheters: These stay in place for a more extended period, however, they require careful monitoring to prevent infections.
- External catheters: Used primarily for men, these resemble condoms and fit over the penis to capture urine.
5. Talk with their doctor.
It’s crucial to maintain open communication with your elderly loved one’s healthcare provider.
Here are useful tips during your next trip to the doctor.
- Discuss symptoms. Some medications or conditions can cause or worsen incontinence, so it’s important to understand the underlying causes.
- Seek recommendations. The doctor can advise on the best incontinence products or changes in medication.
- Schedule regular check-ups. Incontinence can be a sign of other health issues, such as urinary tract infections or an enlarged prostate. Regular doctor visits ensure that any problems are addressed promptly.
Assisting a patient with toileting is a task that demands sensitivity, respect and understanding. With the right equipment, approach and communication with healthcare providers, caregivers can see to it that seniors maintain their dignity and receive the care they need.
Remember, incontinence is a medical issue and not a personal failing. As caregivers, our primary role is to provide support, comfort, and understanding to those in our care.
For exceptional caregiving services, check out RT Medical’s offers today.