Bladder problems can significantly disrupt a senior’s daily routines and social behaviors. As your senior parent ages, they may experience bladder changes. The National Institute on Aging reports that bladder changes often occur due to changes in elasticity and muscle weakness. With age, the bladder becomes less stretchy and cannot hold as much urine, which results in more frequent bathroom visits. In addition, the bladder wall and pelvic floor muscles weaken with age, which makes it more difficult to empty the bladder. Weakened pelvic muscles often cause urine to leak, also known as urinary incontinence.
The National Institute on Aging reports that the most common bladder problems include bladder cancer, lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS), and urinary tract infections (UTIs). LUTS is a group of symptoms that include trouble urinating, incontinence, and frequent need to urinate. The National Institute on Aging reports that UTIs “are the second most common type of infection in the body and can happen anywhere in the urinary system. Older women are more likely to get UTIs because the bladder muscles weaken and make it hard to fully empty the bladder.” An infection is more likely to occur when urine stays in the bladder for too long. Infections associated with UTIs include:
- Bladder infections. This is the most common type of UTI, in which bacteria enter the bladder and cause symptoms such as strong and sudden urges to urinate.
- Kidney infections. Infections in the bladder can spread to the kidneys, which can lead to severe problems. When kidney infections occur frequently or last a long time, they may cause permanent damage to the kidneys.
- Urethra infections. A UTI can also develop in the urethra, but this is less common.
Bladder health can be affected by:
- Constipation. Constipation can cause too much stool to build up in the colon, which can put pressure on the bladder and keep it from expanding.
- Diabetes. Diabetes can damage nerves around the bladder that help with control.
- Being overweight.People who are overweight may be at higher risk for leaking urine.
- Low physical activity.Physical activity can help prevent bladder problems, as well as constipation. It can also help your senior parent keep a healthy weight.
- Bladder problems and bladder cancer are more common among people who smoke.
- Some medications may make it more likely for your bladder to leak urine, depending on medication purpose and side effects.
- For many people, drinking alcohol can make bladder problems worse.
- Caffeine can bother the bladder and change how your senior parent’s bladder alerts them when they need to urinate.
- Some people with bladder problems find that some foods and drinks, such as sodas, artificial sweeteners, spicy foods, citrus fruits and juices, and tomato-based foods, make the problem worse.
Do you know the signs of bladder problems and infections? The National Institute on Aging provides the following signs of a bladder problem:
- Urinary incontinence
- Needing to urinate eight or more times in one day
- Waking up many times at night to urinate
- Sudden and urgent need to urinate
- Pain or burning before, during, or after urinating
- Cloudy or bloody urine
- Passing only small amounts of urine after strong urges to urinate
- Trouble starting or having a weak stream while urinating
- Trouble emptying the bladder
Sometimes in seniors, mental changes and confusion are also symptoms of bladder problems, specifically UTIs. The National Institute on Aging reports that aging adults who have a UTI are likely to be “tired, shaky, and weak and have muscle aches and abdominal pain.”
If your senior parent shows signs and symptoms of bladder programs or infection, make an appointment with their doctor. Bladder problems are often a sensitive subject, and your senior parent may be embarrassed to admit that they are struggling with urinary incontinence.
SYNERGY HomeCare of Corona, Riverside, and Anaheim Hills in-home caregivers can help you manage your senior parent’s health. If your parent lives alone and shows signs and symptoms of bladder problems or other health issues, call SYNERGY HomeCare of Corona, Riverside, and Anaheim Hills. Our in-home caregivers can help your senior parent live a healthy, independent life in their own home. SYNERGY’s in-home caregivers can help your senior parent with transportation, healthy eating, social stimulation, medication management, and cleaning.
SYNERGY HomeCare of Corona, Riverside, and Anaheim Hills in-home caregivers can also help your senior parent improve their bladder and overall health by following these eight tips provided by the National Institute on Aging:
- Drink enough fluids, especially water.SYNERGY’s in-home caregivers can help and remind your senior parent to drink six to eight, 8-ounce glasses of fluid each day. Water is the best fluid for bladder health. At least half of fluid intake should be water. Some seniors may need to drink less water because of certain conditions, such as kidney failure or heart disease. SYNERGY’s in-home caregivers can work with your senior parent’s doctor to know how much fluid intake is healthy for your senior parent.
- Limit alcohol and caffeine.SYNERGY’s in-home caregivers can help your senior parent limit alcohol and caffeinated foods and drinks such as coffee, tea, chocolate, and most sodas. SYNERGY’s in-home caregivers can help your senior parent with healthy food choices, grocery shopping, meal preparation, and meal cleanup.
- Quit smoking.SYNERGY’s in-home caregivers can provide emotional support to help your senior parent quit smoking.
- Avoid constipation.SYNERGY’s in-home caregivers can help your senior parent eat plenty of high-fiber foods (like whole grains, vegetables, and fruits), drink enough water, and stay physically active by encouraging light exercise, which help to combat constipation.
- Keep a healthy weight.SYNERGY’s in-home caregivers can help your senior parent make healthy food choices and encourage light exercise. Physical activity can help prevent bladder problems, as well as constipation.
- Do pelvic floor muscle exercises.SYNERGY’s in-home caregivers can help monitor safe exercise for your senior parent. Pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegel exercises, help hold urine in the bladder. Daily exercises can strengthen these muscles, which can help keep urine from leaking when your senior parent sneezes, coughs, lifts, laughs, or has a sudden urge to urinate.
- Use the bathroom often and when needed, exercising good hygiene habits.SYNERGY’s in-home caregivers will help your senior parent use the restroom with dignity and respect. SYNERGY’s in-home caregivers understand that incontinence can be a sensitive health issue. Our in-home caregivers can help your senior parent try to urinate every 3-4 hours. This will help them avoid holding their urine for too long, which can weaken their bladder muscles and make a bladder infection more likely. SYNERGY’s in-home caregivers can also help with proper bathroom hygiene, including helping your senior parent wipe from front to back after using the toilet. Women should wipe from front to back to keep bacteria from getting into the urethra. This step is most important after a bowel movement.
- Wear cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothes. SYNERGY’s in-home caregivers can ensure that your senior parent wears clean, loose, cotton clothing. Loose and cotton clothing will allow air to keep the area around the urethra dry. SYNERGY’s in-home caregivers can also help your senior parent with laundry and other tasks.
About SYNERGY HomeCare of Corona/ Riverside
Synergy HomeCare of Corona/ Riverside is the name you can trust in Corona, Norco, Riverside, Chino, Chino Hills, Diamond Bar for personal home care. Synergy HomeCare of Corona/ Riverside is part of a national franchise of non-medical home care offices dedicated to providing exceptional and affordable service to anyone of any age. Synergy HomeCare caregivers are available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, to those in need - including seniors, expectant moms, those suffering from sports injuries and debilitating illnesses, and more. Synergy HomeCare of Corona & Riverside can be found online at http://www.synergyhomecare.com/agencies/ca/corona/ca18/. The location also hosts active social media pages on Facebook and Twitter. Ken and Anna can be reached at 951-280-9808 and [email protected]