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Useful Info about Incontinence Pads and Pants for the Elderly

Article by Daniel Westhead Daniel Westhead Sure Safe Alarms

Incontinence isn’t an inevitable part of ageing. But it can affect the elderly more often, whether that’s due to dementia, prostate problems in men, effects of childbirth in women, neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease, or one of many other medical conditions.

On this blog, we often discuss the importance of using available technologies and aids to help protect and care for elderly people. Most of the time, that means technological devices like personal alarms, or devices like lifting aids and hoists.

But modern incontinence products also deserve to be mentioned, since they use design and absorption technologies to help older people immensely. That’s why in this post, we’ll discuss incontinence in the elderly and products that can help seniors to effectively manage this condition.

Types of incontinence

There are many types of incontinence, all working in different ways in the body. Some seniors might experience slight urinary incontinence when sneezing or lifting an object, for example. Others might find that they need to go to the bathroom suddenly and can’t quite make it in time, or simply have less ability to control continence.

If you’re concerned about incontinence, it’s best to talk with your doctor. They can figure out what is causing the incontinence and may be able to advise you about strategies for improving continence. They might also recommend incontinence products, and they could even help you get those products through the NHS.

But what kinds of incontinence products are available? There is actually a very broad range of options on the market – which is great because it helps you pick just the right product for you. Either way, modern incontinence products are discreet and effective, greatly improving the lives of older people who use them. Some people, often men in particular can be embarrassed and reluctant to wear incontinence products but modern incontinence pads or pants for men are very effective and discreet and can make a huge difference to a person's quality of life.

Read on as we run through some types of incontinence products you might choose…

Incontinence pads

Older people experiencing slight or occasional incontinence might find that incontinence pads are best for them. Ladies who experience minor bladder incontinence can purchase incontinence pads and liners from some of the same brands that sell menstrual products, such as Always.

In the chemist, you’ll also find the Tena brand of liners for urinary incontinence. As well as providing liners and pads for women, they also offer incontinence pads for men in the form of men’s underwear shields and protectors which stick to the underwear to manage slight or moderate urinary incontinence.

All this being said, incontinence pads can also manage moderate (though usually not heavy) incontinence needs. These types of pads are larger and work differently. Some of them can handle faecal incontinence as well as urinary, and they may be unisex rather than designed differently for men and women. Often, they’ll need to be worn with special pants to keep them in place. These are called fixation pants.

However, don’t confuse fixation pants with incontinence pants. Fixation pants aren’t designed to be absorbent. They’re usually washable cloth pants that hold the incontinence pad in place by fitting snugly. Some older people find that fixation pants are more discreet, as the pad may not be visible from the outside.

Some main brands providing incontinence pads include Attends, Abena, iD, Vivactive and Lille. Tena also provides these larger incontinence pads and fixation pants to be worn with them.

Incontinence pants

An alternative to the incontinence pads and fixation pants system is incontinence pants, which provide both the absorption and the snug fit to keep everything in place. They usually pull on like any other underpants.

Incontinence pants vary widely in terms of their design. While they’re usually meant for slight or moderate incontinence, some can handle severe incontinence too. Some are washable, while others are disposable. Some are unisex, and others are sex-specific. Typically, the unisex pants are more likely to be the disposable type, whereas the washable pants are cut differently for men and women.

Allanda is a well-known brand for washable incontinence pants. For disposable incontinence pants, you’ll see all the brands we’ve already mentioned, as well as MoliCare.

Incontinence slips or adult nappies

Another option for moderate to severe incontinence are incontinence slips, also sometimes called adult nappies. Slips are not pulled on like underpants. They fasten with tabs and sometimes a belt to ensure a tight fit. Many of these products are unisex. While some are primarily intended for urinary incontinence, there are also slips available for both kinds of incontinence.

Slips are manufactured by all the brands we’ve discussed, with Tena being a leader in the number of products available.

How to get incontinence products

As we’ve mentioned, the best way to start managing incontinence is to talk to your GP. Sometimes the NHS will provide incontinence products to an older person, depending on their medical assessment of the older person’s condition.

You can also buy incontinence products online through sources such as Age UK or Bladder and Bowel UK, or even in your local supermarket or chemist.

Other useful incontinence products

Although we’ve focused here on incontinence products that a senior wears, it’s worth remembering that other products are available to help with managing incontinence, too. For example, you can buy waterproof sheets or pads to place on a bed for protection.

Common misapprehensions about incontinence products

The product will have to be changed often

This isn’t necessarily true. Pads or slips for moderate and heavy incontinence often are designed to hold urine for some time. A colour-change indicator on a slip may tell you when it’s time to change the product.

The product won’t be discreet

Fixation pants are often considered a more discreet option because the pad used with them is not visible once the pants are worn. Also, incontinence pads, pants and slips are designed with many functions for discretion, such as not rustling or making sounds.

An older person can’t do their daily activities wearing an incontinence product

Incontinence products can be extremely effective, so there’s no reason to give up doing what you love. According to the NHS, 14 million people in the country experience urinary incontinence in some way, so you’re not alone.

Protecting seniors with SureSafe

Falls present a significant health risk to the elderly – and incontinence can play a part in causing them. When an older person is rushing to the toilet, especially during the night, they’re at a greater danger of stumbling and tripping.

For elderly people who struggle with getting to the toilet in time or in the dark, incontinence products might help. A personal alarm for the elderly can also help ensure that if a fall does happen, help will always be on the way. Whether it’s worn on the wrist or as a pendant, a personal alarm with fall detection senses that its wearer has fallen and calls for help all on its own – no need for the wearer to do anything.

SureSafe’s personal alarms offer this function and many more, including a one-touch button to call for help in an emergency. With 5 stars on Trustpilot, it’s no surprise SureSafe is a UK market leader in personal alarms for the elderly.

How else can a SureSafe alarm keep you or an older loved one safe? Our expert team would be happy to chat with you to tell you more. You can speak to us by phone at 0808 189 1671 or online through our live chat, or you can request a call back.

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