On Jan.17, the U.S. government announced our country’s first National Alzheimer’s Plan, a call for scientists to find ways to prevent and treat the disease by 2025. According to CBS News, Alzheimer’s affected more than 5 million Americans in 2010, and could affect as many as 16 million by 2050. In addition to Alzheimer’s having a profound impact on government budgets, 75 percent of people with Alzheimer’s will be admitted to a nursing home by age 80, vs. 4 percent of the general population, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Because Alzheimer’s is a neurological disease, patients often have trouble recognizing physical urges or remembering where bathrooms are located, making urinary or bowel incontinence common. Certain medications also can relax the bladder muscles or cause increased urination. Facility managers and staff can help by discussing incontinence with Alzheimer’s patients, helping them acquire the knowledge and products they need to successfully manage their conditions. Consider hosting a seminar at your facility to provide help and encouragement. Here is a list of topics to get started:
- Help residents create bathroom schedules, such as every two hours and after meals and naps, and provide regular reminders.
- Check that bathrooms are clear of obstacles and tripping hazards, and encourage the use of raised toilet seats and night lights if needed.
- Explain the benefits of wearing clothing that is easy to remove, with no complicated belts or buttons.
- Teach residents how to use an Incontinence Product Finder to choose disposable undergarments by style, selecting types they can easily get on and off.
- Explain the importance of keeping skin clean, moisturized and protected, using products made to prevent breakdown and infection.
- Demonstrate how to protect bedding and furniture with disposable pads.
- Encourage residents managing incontinence to cut back on fluids before bedtime, while explaining the importance of drinking fluids during the day to prevent dehydration.
For a supply of resident informational brochures and access to more than 500 incontinence products with free doorstep delivery ($50+), call The CareGiver Partnership at 1-800-985-1353 or visit www.caregiverpartnership.com.