The mention of toilet assistance or words such as bowel movements, incontinence, or constipation tends to leave us feeling squeamish and a little uncomfortable. Perhaps this is largely due to how we view toilet activities. The phrase “out of sight, out of mind” comes to the fore. However, this may not be a reality for many of our loved ones who may need assistance in these areas. Imagine, if you as a caregiver feel discomfort, how would your loved ones feel, knowing that they are the source of it? This article is designed to help you navigate toilet assistance with your loved ones without impinging on their dignity and while keeping them safe at the same time.
Who Needs Toilet Assistance?
People of all ages may need assistance going to the washroom. Most commonly, this may be needed when the person has mobility issues and has difficulty moving by themselves. It is common that a person needing toilet assistance may also need help with other aspects of daily living such as bathing and dressing.
How Do You Provide Toilet Assistance?
The most important way you can help is by communicating in a compassionate and respectful manner. Your loved ones may not know how to express or be embarrassed about articulating their needs. A good caregiver, however, is cognizant of these difficulties. They should be proactive and understand that everyone needs help from time to time. Reprimanding, mocking, or being dismissive is absolutely not helpful and cannot be done.
What Is Incontinence?
Broadly, incontinence can be categorized into urinary incontinence and bowel incontinence. The former itself has several types. For example, small amounts of urine leakage and stress incontinence wherein actions like sneezing and laughing may cause one to leak. Bowel incontinence, more commonly referred to as constipation, may be due to medical issues such as injury and weakness to the anal muscles and side effects of certain medications.
How Do You Manage Incontinence?
It is always best to check with your primary health provider on the causes and treatment for incontinence. They can suggest a customized treatment plan tailored to the needs of your loved one. Some general nutrition principles can be applied, however, as food and liquid intake plays a major role in incontinence. High-fiber foods such as whole grain, vegetables, and nuts help prevent constipation. Those with urinary incontinence may fear drinking water. However, not drinking enough water can cause dehydration which leads to other complications.
How Do You Plan for Accidents?
Accidents are inevitable. While as a caregiver you may be used to dealing with such situations, a better method is to plan for such scenarios. For urinary incontinence, one can advise loved ones to wear adult diapers. Essentials like wet wipes or plastic sheets could also be used.
What If You Cannot Cope?
Assisted living communities can help with such daily activities if you feel that the strain of helping a loved one is getting to you. Each person is unique, and TerraBella Spartanburg can provide a tailor-made program that helps each resident in the best way possible.