Aging is a fact of life affecting all families. Watching our parents decline in appearance, quality of life and emotional well-being can become very worrying and stressful. Giving your loved ones the best care means allowing their daily living requirements to be met effectively. This includes self-feeding, functional mobility, such as getting in and out of bed and toilet hygiene.
Today let’s look at a condition affecting more than half of all elderly – urinary control disorder or UCD. Structural changes in the aging bladder and urethra, and weakened pelvic floor muscles predispose the elderly to the development of UCD.
More importantly, if left untreated UCD is a common cause of fall risks, associated with negative rehabilitation outcomes and leads to 30% increase in functional decline. Surgery isn’t always a viable option for seniors.
Here are some non-surgical ways that could help:
- Bladder Training: This is where you train yourself to delay urinating when you feel the urge to. This could start with a 30 minute delay and slowly lengthening it to 1, 2 or 3 hours. For those who are not able to properly contract the pelvic floor muscles, this might not be an option.
- Keep a Bladder Diary: Keep a bladder diary and observe the common bladder irritants. These could be coffee, tea or alcohol that causes you to urinate more.
- Hygienic Pads: These take away the stress of worrying about a potential accident. However one shouldn’t be overly reliant on them as they may cause other issues.
- Keep a Healthy Weight: Stress incontinence could be due to obesity and if so, maintaining a healthy weight will help to reduce the pressure and weight on the pelvic floor muscles, thereby reducing the chance of leakage.
- Pelvic Floor Training: Strengthening the pelvic floor will help to stop the bladder’s involuntary contractions and provide better support to the bladder. It is important to understand how to properly perform these exercises as these are deep muscles that are hard to identify. Speak to a skilled pelvic floor physical therapist for proper guidance.
Healthy bladder control is managed by strengthening the pelvic floor muscles that support the bladder and urethra. For most seniors above 50, it is quite common that they might have lost the sensation of contracting these muscles.
At Orchard Clinic, we use today’s medical technology to reactivate the pelvic floor muscles, forcing dormant muscles to wake up and allowing the brain to register the engagement of these muscles, creating muscle memory. This is done through HIFEM technology.
Let’s take a look at our patient Jane
Jane (not her real name) is a 74 year old woman who is wheelchair bound with muscle atrophy. She used to wake up 4-5 times during the night to urinate but has now stopped after treatment at Orchard Clinic. She also saw improvement in her bowel movement, telling us that she defecates everyday now instead of 2-3 times a week. Her husband and herself are both very happy as their sleep quality and quality of life has improved drastically.
Something to remember is that caring for elderly parents shouldn’t be a burden or responsibility to bear alone. In addition to family and caregiver support, there are experts, resources, and medical technology to help you.
Staying informed, considering their happiness and comfort is the best approach when caring for elderly parents, allowing them to age well and happily. Speak to us if you’d like to find out about easy treatment options.
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Orchard Clinic is a specialised centre combining advanced medical technology and physical conditioning to help clients achieve healthy, pain-free lifestyles.