March 19, 2020 by Dean Bellefeuille


Dementia care involves both compassion and creativity to deal with a number of complicated behaviors and effects, and that is particularly true when dealing with incontinence in dementia patients, something that is exceedingly frequent with the disease. These tried-and-true approaches can be effective in decreasing the impact of incontinence and reducing an escalation of emotions in someone you love with Alzheimer’s.

  1. Pick your words carefully. As opposed to speaking about incontinence products as “diapers,” for example, call them “briefs” or “pull-up underwear.” Having said that, take the cue from your loved one; if she or he prefers to make use of the term “diapers” and appears to be confident with that, then follow along.
  2. Get rid of regular underwear from the older adult’s dresser. To prevent frustration or opposition to wearing incontinence products, be certain that those are the only option in his or her wardrobe.
  3. Try a variety of products. With different brands, sizes, and absorbency levels available, it may take some time and experience to come across one that is most comfortable and effective.
  4. Use backup products overnight. To help prevent the older adult from waking up throughout the night from incontinence-related issues, try placing booster pads inside the absorbent underwear, and use products marked for heaviest coverage. Waterproof mattress protectors and disposable bed pads may also be extremely helpful.
  5. Ensure easy access to the bathroom. Complete a walk-through of the areas the senior loved one spends time in to gauge how easy it is for him or her to get to the bathroom. Specifically, clear away any clutter, cords, or throw rugs in the person’s walking path to prevent falls.
  6. If an accident does occur… Maintain a relaxed demeanor so as not to offend (or further upset) the older adult, and say something such as, “It looks like something may have spilled on your pants; let’s get you some clean clothes,” or “It seems like your pants are wet; that happens occasionally.”
  7. Address unwillingness to keep products on. For senior loved ones who repeatedly make an effort to remove incontinence products, first see whether you can determine the particular reason why. If discomfort is a factor, try different types of products for one that may be more comfortable. Or the senior may be trying to change if there’s a sense of wetness.

In all instances, pay attention to the senior’s skin for warning signs of rash or irritation, and contact her or his medical doctor if noted.

To get more incontinence care tips, or to find out more about At Home Independent Living’s trusted, professional Syracuse Alzheimer’s care, reach out to us at (315) 579-HOME (4663). To learn more about all of the areas we serve in New York, please visit our Service Area page.