As we get older, incontinence becomes more common. The pelvic floor muscles and bladder naturally become weaker. Medications can contribute to incontinence. Additionally, some health conditions, like arthritis, can impact a senior’s ability to get to the bathroom in time.
Whatever the reason, incontinence can become a source of frustration and embarrassment. However, there are many high-quality, discreet products that can help you manage your own incontinence or assist an aging loved one with incontinence. The following are some of the best incontinence products for seniors.
1. Bed Sheet Protector
A sheet protector (also referred to as a bed pad or underpad) is an absorbent pad that can be placed on top of a mattress and directly underneath a senior while they are in bed. Of course, you could also place these pads on a chair or other sitting surface.
Usually, sheet protectors are made of cotton and polyester. These pads can keep the mattress and sheets dry — even overnight. They prevent urine from awakening the individual and moisture from spreading to their partner, too.
Sheet protectors come in a variety of sizes and styles, including disposable and reusable. Some may also have odor protection built in. Others also have added grips so the pad stays in the same place during the night. Ultimately, the right sheet protector depends on a senior’s preference.
2. Adult Diapers
Another option to help with incontinence during the day is adult diapers or briefs. These diapers come in all sizes, styles, and types, but they all offer full incontinence protection from both bladder and bowel incontinence. Adult diapers allow seniors to get the size and level of absorbency that they need. Plus, they are very discreet; seniors can go out in public or remain at home and be comfortable and dry.
One benefit of adult briefs is that they provide protection whether a senior is walking, sitting, or laying down. They also have adjustable side tabs, making it easy for caregivers to change diapers as needed.
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3. Incontinence Underwear
Incontinence underwear (also referred to as incontinence pants or adult pull-ups) are similar to adult briefs, but they don’t have the side tabs. Instead, they are designed to fit more like underwear and have a stretchy waistband. Seniors can put them on and take them off just like underwear, or they can tear the material at the sides. However, they cannot be refastened like adult diapers.
This option is great for seniors who are largely independent but who need leakage protection due to any type of urinary incontinence. Incontinence underwear tends to be less bulky and quieter than diapers. But they aren’t designed for heavy bowel incontinence.
4. Disposable Pads or Guards
Disposable pads can be inserted into a senior’s underwear for protection against bladder incontinence. They have a waterproof backing and are filled with an absorbent gel material. Some have adhesive strips that stick to the underwear so they don’t slide around. There are pads designed to snuggly fit both men and women.
Disposable pads can be removed from the underwear easily and thrown out, so a senior doesn’t have to change their undergarments multiple times a day. While these pads can offer a lot of protection for the urge to urinate, they are not designed for bowel incontinence.
5. Mattress Protector
If a senior doesn't like the feeling of something on top of their sheets when they sleep, then they can go with a mattress protector instead. This is a waterproof, absorbent, fitted bed sheet that covers the entire mattress. It can be used underneath a regular fitted sheet or as a fitted sheet to keep the mattress dry and clean.
There are mattress protectors for different sizes of mattresses. And like with sheet protectors, some offer odor control. Mattress protectors can come in disposable or reusable options.
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6. Penile Clamp
A penile clamp is a urinary incontinence tool designed for males. It fits around the shaft of the penis to compresses the urethra and stop the flow of urine. It can be used to help prevent small dribbles from weak bladder muscles and larger leaks. When worn properly, this device does not stop blood flow and should not irritate the skin.
A big benefit to this tool is that it is reusable. It can be washed and reused, making it a cost-effective and eco-friendly solution. However, penile clamps should not be used at night. Additionally, every 2 hours the clamp should be moved slightly up or down the shaft of the penis to prevent any damage.
7. Bladder Supports
Bladder supports are the equivalent of penile clamps for women with urinary incontinence. These supports are inserted into the vagina with a tampon-like applicator. When inserted correctly, the support puts pressure on the urethra to help stop bladder leakage. But unlike tampons, these are not absorbent.
There are several different designs of bladder supports, and they may offer varying levels of support for urinary incontinence. Some are reusable while others are disposable. While bladder supports are one of the lesser-known products on our list, they can be very effective at helping women with weak pelvic floors due to aging.
Aging comes with a number of different obstacles, but incontinence shouldn’t leave you or a loved one feeling embarrassed. The products we’ve outlined can help you manage incontinence with dignity and discretion, allowing you to live your life to the fullest!
If you or a loved one is having a difficult time managing incontinence alone, know that help is available. Our professional caregivers can assist seniors with personal care. Reach out to your local Caring team today.