Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Tips for Incontinence Care while Traveling

Summer is prime time for taking a vacation with the whole family. But what if your older loved one copes with incontinence? There are lots of ways you can help make the trip easier on your elderly parent or friend. And with a little preparation, they can enjoy the trip to its fullest. When it comes to care for elderly loved ones, children or friends need to take special needs into consideration. Here are some great ways to make traveling with incontinence easier, so your loved one can vacation without the worry.
Bladder Training
Consider introducing your elderly loved one to bladder training practices. Consider having him or her talk with their physician about tips and methods. Some common techniques include:
Practicing timed voiding. This refers to visiting the bathroom at a certain time, rather than when the body says to “go.” Your loved one might try visiting the restroom whenever possible, and at certain hours of the day, whether or not they feel like they have to eliminate then and there. 
Practice Kegels. By strengthening the pelvic muscles through Kegel exercises, your older loved one can work to prevent urine leakage. These exercises are effective for both men and women, and they can be done virtually anywhere. They involve tightening the muscles used to start and end urine flow for a few seconds, then relaxing for another few seconds. 
Stop and think. An overactive bladder comes with the sudden onset of feeling like you have to urinate. There is a natural tendency for people to immediately rush to the bathroom. Rather than giving in, your older loved one might be able to pause and focus on what they are really feeling. By focusing and practicing a few pelvic floor contractions, people often feel a reduced need to go to the bathroom, giving them more time to reach the restroom without worry. This is especially helpful while on long car trips, when a bathroom is not readily accessible. 
Certain prescriptions may help control the symptoms of an overactive bladder. Doctors could prescribe certain drugs that alleviate symptoms, but they do not cure the condition. When providing care for seniors prior to a trip, consider offering to visit their doctor with them. Learn more about these medications, and if they could help make the vacation easier on your loved one. However, these medications can take approximately two weeks to become highly effective, so the prescription regimen should begin before the vacation. 
Proper Supplies
Even with prevention techniques and medication, it is also a good idea to bring the right supplies in the event of an accident. Pack absorbent pads and a plastic bag to hold soiled clothing or used pads. Always pack away extra pairs of clean undergarments and clothes, too.
Choose Foods and Beverages Carefully
Some foods or drinks can irritate the condition. Providing personal elder care is a very individual task, and it is important to work with your loved one to discover what foods or drinks exacerbate the problem. During a trip, avoid stopping at restaurants that specialize in such goods, and try to find refreshments that work for everyone on the vacation. 
Even more, avoiding water and beverages in hopes of reducing the need to urinate could actually backfire. Dehydration makes urine much more concentrated, which could irritate the bladder lining and even trigger spasms. Rather than skipping water, be sure your loved one stays hydrated to reduce this risk, too. 
Taking a vacation should be fun for the whole family. By preparing in advance and working with your older family member or friend to find what works best for them, you can make them more comfortable and create an environment that everyone will enjoy.

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