Urinary Incontinence and your Parent

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Several diseases result in urinary incontinence, some of which are reversible. If you notice your parent experiencing increasing difficulty making it to the bathroom on time or they are dealing with a chronic leak, make an appointment with their primary health care provider in order to determine the cause.

Moderate to severe urinary incontinence affects 23 percent of those individuals who are 60 to 79 years old and 32 percent of those who are over the age of 80. This common ailment in the elderly is often caused by the following:

  • Medications. The elderly are at an increased risk for drug interactions due to the increasing number of medications they are prescribed as they age.
  • Diseases such as stroke and Alzheimer’s.
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs). Oddly enough, in the elderly, UTIs are often mistaken for the early stages of dementia. The symptoms they may exhibit include confusion, behavioral changes such as increasing agitation and hallucinations.
  • Weakening of the bladder and pelvic floor muscles. As muscles weaken, it becomes harder to hold urine in the bladder.
  • Enlarged prostrate. An enlarged prostrate can put pressure on the opening of the bladder, restricting the flow of urine.

How to Help

According to NIH Senior Health, “People with bladder problems may have a lower quality of life than people with diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure.” This is due to the avoidance of social situations and the inability to complete everyday tasks. Take these steps to help your parent whether by decreasing their symptoms or making them comfortable so that they will remain engaged and socially active.

  • Make a list of the current medications, over-the-counter remedies, and supplements that your parent is taking and ask their pharmacist to take a look at it. They can determine if there are any possible combinations or independent drugs that may be causing the problem.
  • Encourage correct cleaning-up protocol. Make sure to keep a glass of water by their side to encourage drinking. Flavor with fruits, vegetables or herbs if they are not water drinkers. This may include berries, cucumbers or mint.
  • Kegel exercises are associated with pregnancy, but are good for the elderly as well. These exercises strengthen the muscles along the pelvic floor. Ensure the rest of their body remains active as well by scheduling in 30 minutes of exercise at least 5 days a week.
  • Check with your parent’s primary health care provider for suggestions in relation to an enlarged prostate. There are several medications that are proving promising. In addition, there are several herbs that have been used in traditional medicine for centuries. These include saw palmetto, pygeum and rye grass pollen extract.
  • Keep a tote by the door for your parent that includes pads or briefs as well as wipes and a change of clothes. This may give them the extra boost of confidence they need so that they can remain socially engaged and have the necessary supplies should an accident occur.

Home Care Provider

If your loved one is finding it difficult to complete the everyday tasks of living, consider the services of a home care provider. They understand the unique needs associated with this condition and can provide the care and companionship an elderly person facing this issue requires.


If you or an aging loved one are considering home care services in Leesburg, VA, please contact the caring staff at Assisting Hands today. (703) 982-0050.