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Ways to prevent incontinence

  • The first step is to find out when the person normally went to the toilet and take the person then, or take him/her to the toilet every two hours. The person may get into the habit of going at those times. Another way is to write down when the person is incontinent and see if there is a pattern. For example: does it happen every three hours or a certain length of time after he or she has had something to drink? If so, take the person to the toilet just before the next time you expect the incontinence.
  • Be aware of signs that the person might want to go to the toilet. Examples are restlessness, pulling at clothes, holding him/herself or moaning.
  • Make sure that the toilet is easy to reach and easy to use. If a toilet seat is used, if possible have it in a different colour to the toilet bowl and the floor so that the person can see it easily. To help the person get off the toilet, it is useful to have a handrail on the wall.
  • Take away or cover pieces of furniture that the person might mistake for a toilet.
  • Make sure that the person can reach the toilet easily, with no furniture in the way, and can open the door/s.
  • A sign on the door of the toilet may also help him or her remember where the toilet is.
  • Should the person have difficulty reaching the toilet as it is far from the living area, it may be useful to leave a commode in a room that is private.
  • Making sure that the person has clothes that can quickly be removed or unfastened will also help. Velcro fastenings may be easier to manage than zips or buttons.
  • Do not rush the person when he or she is using the toilet.
  • Try to give her/him as much privacy as you can.
  • If the person is incontinent during the night, do not give anything to drink for three hours before bedtime and take her/him to the toilet before bed. It is very important, however, to make sure that plenty of liquids are drunk during the day to avoid dehydration (drying out) and bladder infection.