Toileting Tips for Family Caregivers
The natural aging process can make toileting a challenge for seniors. To make the daily toileting process easier, consider these tips:
1. Ensure there is Adequate Lighting
Bathrooms can have slick, slippery floors and be a common place for seniors to experience falls. It is important to ensure your loved one can easily see the way to the restroom. One method of ensuring this is installing motion sensor lights that come on as soon as he or she passes through the doorways. Your loved one can then avoid searching for a light switch and will be less likely to fall.
2. Ensure Hygiene Products are within Reach
To avoid unnecessary reaching or straining, it is important to keep hygiene products within reach of the toilet. If there are no shelves located near the toilet, consider filling a basket with hygiene products and placing it nearby. If your loved one experiences frequent accidents, consider including an extra change of clothing along with cleansing cloths and toilet paper. Keep the basket or shelf near the toilet well-stocked so your loved one always has what he or she needs to clean up.
3. Choose Accessible Clothing
As your loved one ages, arthritis and other health conditions that affect mobility make it more difficult to do certain things such as unbutton clothing. Try to always provide your loved one with accessible clothing that allows him or her to quickly get undressed. Examples include pants with elastic waistbands and side-opening undergarments that make clothing changes faster in the event of an accident.
4. Try to get to Know Your Loved One’s Toileting Schedule
If you know your loved one's general toileting schedule, you can prevent the rush to the restroom that accompanies an emergency. If your loved one has a consistent diet, it can be relatively easy to get to know your loved one’s schedule over time. For example, he or she may need to use the restroom a half hour after eating. The strategy would be to be near a restroom during this time.
5. Provide Mobility Aids
There are numerous mobility aids available that promote independence during toileting. For example, you can easily create special button opener aids using household items. Alternatively, your loved one may benefit from using a special reaching arm that attaches to toilet paper or personal cleaning cloths so he or she can manage hygiene independently. Lastly, just having a handrail nearby can make it much easier for seniors to sit down and stand up without having to call for help.
6. Consider Professional Assistance
Some seniors that have difficulty toileting independently may avoid asking their caregivers for help out of embarrassment. If you find this is the case with your loved one, consider arranging for a professional caregiver to provide assistance. This would allow your loved one privacy and dignity in the family while also ensuring he or she has help managing personal hygiene.