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Understanding Senior Incontinence

Simple solutions may help manage senior incontinence.

Incontinence, or decreased bladder control, is a distressing and delicate issue, particularly for older individuals. It can trigger a variety of problems from skin sores to social isolation for individuals who are afraid to leave home in case of an “accident.” Yet, while bladder leakage causes approximately 25 million people in the U.S. to struggle with complications, the affliction hardly ever gets the attention and conversation it needs. With the lack of communication and facts about senior incontinence, many seniors and those who provide their care feel as though there is nothing that can be done about it.

Nevertheless, senior incontinence is not inevitable as we age. While many seniors do find that their bladders may be “weak,” causing leaks, sometimes the issue has a simple solution.

Below are some bladder leakage problems that can be treated:

Urinary tract infections (UTIs)

UTIs, also called bladder infections, lead to an overwhelming urge to pass urine. In younger people, this sensation is obvious, but it isn’t always as evident for older adults. If an older person presents with sudden urinary incontinence when this was not a difficulty before, look for additional indicators that suggest a UTI, such as:

  • Sudden confusion or agitation
  • Hallucinations
  • Other behavioral changes
  • Poor motor skills
  • Falls

You may also discover:

  • Strong smelling urine
  • Cloudy urine or blood in the urine
  • Fever 
  • Complaints of pain when urinating
  • Complaints of pressure or pain in the abdomen
  • Night sweats

If you believe a loved one may have a UTI, the older person needs to be examined by the doctor and have his or her urine analyzed. Once the infection has been treated, the incontinence should be remedied or lessened.

Mobility loss

As mobility diminishes, incontinence can come to be an issue. The urge to urinate may come on abruptly, and the older adult may not be able to get to the bathroom quickly enough. This could also be an issue in the evenings, as it often takes longer to get out of bed to go to the bathroom, and awakening in the middle of the night can also create some confusion.

For older individuals with mobility issues, an in-home assessment from one of our home care experts can help offer suggestions.


Certain drugs, including diuretics, increase the level of urine produced, causing an increased urge to urinate. If your loved one is on a medication that increases urine production, it is vital to keep this in mind when the person has to leave the house or is not close to a readily available bathroom.

At CareFor, we understand how UTIs, senior incontinence, and other elderly health issues can affect quality of life. Our highly trained Austin senior care team provides a wide array of home care services, including mobility and bathroom assistance, medication reminders, bathing and grooming support and more, to help an older loved one live his or her best life. Contact us today at (512) 338-4533 to learn more about our expert home care in Austin and the surrounding areas.

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