There are many reasons why getting to the toilet may not be as easy as it used to be.
There is no need for embarrassment, several products are available to make something that some people take for granted, as easy as possible.
Whether your mobility has decreased and you can’t always make it to the bathroom on time or you are almost immobile and need help using the loo, there is always an option for you.
Drawing on my experiences of caring for my mum, I’ve put together some ideas of helping you cope with and choosing the best incontinence aids for the elderly.
What is a commode?
If, for whatever the reason, you can’t make it to the toilet, the toilet will come to you.
Usually designed to look like a basic chair with arms, they have a seat pad that either lifts or removes completely. Beneath you will find a traditional toilet seat and a covered pot.
Once the lid has been removed, the user can sit very securely, and use the commode as you would a conventional toilet.
Someone can then take the pot and empty its contents down the nearest toilet. It will fit into the toilet bowl so can be easily washed by using the water from the flush.
Commodes are lightweight to allow them to be carried around with ease. Some are foldable too so that storage between uses is simple.
My mum relied on a commode after her hip replacement op’; we only have an upstairs bathroom. As she had her own room, we felt it more convenient to keep the commode set up in there.
We put a coordinating throw and some scatter cushions on it to make it look less obvious and more like a piece of furniture. We lost count of how many visitors sat on it, totally unsuspecting!
If you have restricted finances, Social Services will help to source you a commode. Your GP can help chivvy this along.
If you are looking to purchase one, they can cost from as little as £30.
Incontinence Pads and Mats for the Bed
If you find that night times are the worst and you sometimes have an accident or leak, then don’t fret.
Incontinence mats are a protective cover for the bed and bedlinen.
A simple paper mat that won’t hinder sleep, protects mattresses from stains and will hold any moisture inside, ensuring the user isn’t lying in a wet patch throughout the night.
Each morning, dispose of it in the bin and place a fresh one on the bed.
Waterproof mattress protectors can be useful too but they tend to sweat the user and leave any moisture in a pool. This is not ideal and can cause skin irritations and soreness.
Pads for chairs are also available. They have a waterproof inner while the cover can be unzipped and washed. These are a great idea when trying to protect part of a 3 piece suite from stains or smells.
Washable Mattress Protectors are made of cotton. The can be put in the washing machine to be freshened up. They will protect the user and the mattress.
Pads are ideal for days out when you’re unsure where the nearest toilet might be. They’re suited for all day, every day need or just occasionally.
They come in many shapes and sizes to suit different absorption requirements.
These are similar to regular sanitary towels and come in varying sizes. They are suitable for helping limited urinary incontinence.
These can be pulled on as you would normal underwear. They will soak up any moisture and odour to keep the wearer dry and fresh.
They are disposable and have the added advantage of having sides that can be torn. Instead of the discomfort of sliding them down and stepping out, they can be ripped apart and disposed of.
Side-fastening incontinence pads
These tend to be bigger and cope with great levels of liquid or solids. They’re suited to people with very limited, if any at all, mobility.
They look like and work on the same principal as a nappy.
They are easier to put on and to remove if you’re providing assistance to the wearer. They are suitable for all-night use.
The side fasteners allow them to be adjusted to the comfort level of all different size wearers.
These are ideal for regular urinary incontinence sufferers. Waterproof pants with a pouch to place a disposable pad.
If you’re concerned about the amount of waste lots of large pads might be creating, these are worthy of consideration. The small pads can be thrown away and the pants can be machine washed.
These come in different styles for men and women.
Disposing of Incontinence Pads
Used incontinence products are classed as clinical waste and as such, shouldn’t be thrown in your general waste bin.
Many councils offer a free collection, some even supply a separate container to store them in between collections.
A list of what individual councils offer can be found online, or by giving your local CouncilPlus a call.
If you have to rely on incontinence products, don’t worry, there are millions of others like you.
There is no shame in it. In fact, completely the opposite. You will maintain a lovely, clean and fresh outward appearance and no-one need ever know what’s going on beneath!