When I first started taking care of my mother she was suffering from urinary incontinence. If you are dealing with a person living with dementia or Alzheimer's disease then you know this can be a big problem.
Urinary Incontinence (UI) is a stigmatized, underreported, under-diagnosed, under-treated condition that is erroneously thought to be a normal part of aging. One-third of men and women ages 30-70 believe that incontinence is a part of aging (National Institute of Health, NIH).
Over time I developed a solution to this problem. I would say it was about 90 percent effective.
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By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room
Here are some excerpts from a longer article I wrote about this problem while caring for my mother, Dotty.
When we have a problem with incontinence during the day it usually happens because I am tardy or less than perfect in following the program I developed to solve the problem.
If you really want to solve the problem of urinary incontinence, I suggest you try a little role reversal.
If you were the one with Alzheimer's and urinary incontinence, how would you want to be treated?
Would you want to be yelled at? Treated like a baby? Would you want to listen to someone constantly complain about how you are peeing all over yourself?
Would you want to feel all those bad vibes being directed at you?
I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner but I finally decided it was time for a trip into the bunkhouse. I took my da Vinci pad with me and wrote -- problem incontinence -- right in the middle of the page with a big circle around it.
Then I started writing everything I could think of and remember about this problem all around that circle.
Then like magic the light bulb went on in my head. I thought to myself, if I can do this I'll be like the Leonardo da Vinci of urinary incontinence (I'm Italian by the way).
Every time we had an accident I wrote down the time and what happened. Big flood, little puddle, couple of drops. Floor shot, panty shot, pants shot. Number one, number one and number two (yeah, I had to work on the poop problem separately).
Soon I could see a clear cut pattern. Once I had the pattern identified problem solved right?
The solution to the problem was obvious. Get my mother to pee on a schedule. Better yet, get her to pee more than once before the next scheduled accident.
Keep in mind, my mother had Alzheimer's disease. So it was not like I could explain the program to her -- the solution.
My mother didn't know she had a problem. If you asked her she would tell you with great confidence that she never had an accident in her life. She never had the dreaded pee pee pajama.
To read all about how I defined the problem, and then developed the solution to the problem, you can read this longer article I wrote.
I have received lots of positive feedback about this approach from readers here, on Facebook and on Google+.
I strongly suggest you read the article; and, if you know someone that has the problem send the article link to them.
I think the longer article might also be useful for discussion in support groups.
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Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room (ARR).