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Friday, July 10, 2009

Giving Care

I have noticed a huge change in family situations and circumstances of living lately. More and more sick and recovering elderly are being taken care off at home, instead of going to a nursing home. It may be due to the economic depression, but I have a greater suspicion that it is a result of the high costs of health care.

I am fully aware that by taking care of parents or grand parents, also come many problems. Not only is it practically a 24/7 job, but several adjustments may have to be made, to increase the safety at home like installing bathroom handrails for instance. You would not believe how high the percentage of accidents is which happen at home. Most of them are due to a slip in the bathroom!

One of the other issues family members and care givers might encounter is incontinence. A search on the Internet showed that this is a very common problem. Many times it is due to an underlying medical condition, which is treatable. It is very aggravating, frustrating and embarrassing for those who suffer from it though.

I was surprised when I read how many different types of incontinence there are:
- Stress incontinence:
This is mostly due to weak pelvic floor muscles and mostly occurs with coughing, laughing, sneezing, exercising or any other pressure on the bladder.
- Urge incontinence:
This is due to overactive nerves which control the bladder
- Functional incontinence:
Having to go, but not making it to the bathroom in time. Causes can be lack of mobility, confusion, dementia or simply because there is no where to go. I suspect we all may have been in that last situation at some point.
- Overflow incontinence:
Usually due to weak bladder muscles or a blocked urethra. It results in incomplete emptying of the bladder.
- Structural incontinence:
This type is very rare and usually already diagnosed during childhood.
- Transient incontinence:
This is a temporary condition often due to medications or urinary tract infections for instance.

A visit to an Urologist can determine what type of incontinence has manifested itself. Many of the incontinence forms can be cured through medications. That does not take care of the immediate problem and it is good to know that there are adult diapers available which will save many people lots of grieve and inconvenience.

In case you even have the slightest suspicion that you might be suffering from incontinence, it would be best to see your doctor as soon as possible before it progresses!


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