Managing incontinence

We have been managing quite well to keep my uncle at home but over the last few months he has become incontinent. He denies the wet underwear and urine soaked bathroom floor is anything to do with him. I don’t think he can stay in his own home any longer as he lives alone and already has three visits a day by a care agency to help him. What can I do?

Arrange a check up with the GP to make sure your uncle has not got a urine infection, constipation or other underlying cause to his incontinence and if so, these can be treated.

Check whether your uncle knows where the toilet is, as sometimes unless the person can clearly see where it is, they will not use it. Use large signs for the toilet,- pictorial ones are better, and leave the toilet door open if possible so it can be clearly seen.

He will need to have an incontinence assessment (which will be arranged by the GP surgery) and he will then be supplied with incontinence pants or pads. It is better for people diagnosed with dementia to have pull-up pants to enable independence. You can also purchase covers for the bed and chairs called ‘kylie sheets’, which are washable and come in a variety of colours and sizes.

Your uncle may need reminding to go to the toilet regularly throughout the day, so check with the visiting carers that they are prompting him and checking if he needs help with changing his clothes.

If you feel it is time to step up the care, start making some plans by looking at local care homes, and the alternative which is 24 hour live in care. Your uncle’s local adult social services department can help with advice about this choice and the funding options available.