Incontinence in the Elderly

Incontinence is the involuntary excretion of urine or feces. While incontinence can happen to anyone, it’s more common in older adults.

Although common, incontinence is not a normal part of the aging process. Acute incontinence, caused by issues like urinary tract infections, diabetes, and medication interactions, may be reversible through treatment of underlying conditions and bladder control training. Later stages of progressive conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, however, often lead to chronic incontinence which comes with its own physical and social consequences.

Individuals experiencing chronic incontinence have higher rates of pressure ulcers, skin infections, and urinary tract infections as well as increased levels of embarrassment and depression. Fortunately, resources are available to cope with the impact of incontinence on quality of life for both older adults and their caregivers.

Browse our collection of incontinence articles, Caregiver Q&A, and incontinence discussions. Find the support of other caregivers in AgingCare’s online forum-a community of caregivers who truly understand the challenges of caring for a loved one with incontinence.

Incontinence Articles

  • The 4 Kinds of Urinary Incontinence

    Caring for an elderly parent with incontinence can be challenging. Start by understanding the four main kinds of incontinence: stress incontinence, urge incontinence, overflow and functional incontinence.

    5 Comments
  • Testing Procedures for Incontinence

    Explore the urodynamic tests and procedures doctors use for diagnosing loss of bladder control, urinary incontinence and problems with urinary flow.

    0 Comments
  • Managing Incontinence in Older Adults

    Under a doctor's care, incontinence can be treated and often cured. The choice of treatment depends on the type of bladder control problem your aging parent has, how serious it is, and what best fits a senior's lifestyle.

    7 Comments
  • How to Choose the Best Adult Diaper

    There are many continence care products like “adult diapers” on the market for seniors who are living with urinary incontinence. Use these tips to find a product that fits well, minimizes leaks, helps maintain skin integrity and improves quality of life.

    23 Comments
  • How to Convince a Senior to Wear Adult Diapers

    Pro Tip: The first step in winning this common incontinence battle is to strike the word “diaper” from your vocabulary.

    36 Comments
  • Dementia and Incontinence

    As cognition declines, what may start as incontinence events or “accidents” usually progresses into chronic incontinence issues for those with severe dementia.

    0 Comments
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Incontinence Discussions

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Frequently Asked Questions about Incontinence

Q: What causes incontinence in older adults?
Incontinence can occur for many reasons. Sometimes incontinence is reversible through treatment, other times it becomes a chronic health condition. Learn More: Incontinence and Bladder Control in the Elderly
Q: How do you treat incontinence in the elderly?
Under a doctor's care incontinence can be treated and often cured. Learn the simplest and safest ways to: Manage Incontinence in Older Adults
Q: How do I find the best adult incontinence briefs?
Disposable absorbent underwear products, sometimes called “adult diapers” or briefs, help caregivers to manage incontinence in aging loved ones. Learn More: How to Choose the Best Adult Diaper
Q: Does dementia cause incontinence?
Incontinence issues are common in later stages of Alzheimer's and other types of dementia. Learn more about: Dementia and Incontinence
Q: Any ideas for dealing with dementia and toilet paper issues?
Incontinence and toileting issues are common in severe stages of dementia. Caregivers often report that incontinence is one of the most challenging care related issues. Read: My mother does not know what to do with toilet paper!