10 Tips to Help Senior Bladder Problems


Ideas to help you with caring for a senior with bladder problems… by francy Dickinson

poise padDear Francy; I wanted to share my own challenges today. Ten years ago, my mother was in her late 90’s and got a UTI or Urinary Track Infection, that was so bad she was in hospital for 10 days and 20 days in a recovery center. She was too weak to go back to her own home so, she moved in with me and I began my “hands-on care giving”. The day she was to move in…I went to the big box store for bladder control products. It was a nervous day and I was stressed…when I finally found the right isle…I was shocked to see the whole isle was filled with bladder products and I did not know which one was required. My stress level was so high that I stood there crying in the bladder control isle! I want to save you from that kind of worry and stress…here are some tips you want to know when you, or one of your family members needs to use bladder support products.


  1.  Bladder control products are not the same as menstruation products. You must be careful with this…using a pad for your period because you ‘leak’…can produce a nasty infection called UTI…do not do it. Go and get small bladder control pads. They are made so the urine is wicked away from your skin and you will be able to have protection wo the worry.
  2. swing trashYou never put bladder products in the toilet. It will back up your system and cost way too much money to fix the pipes. So go and get a tall kitchen trash can with a lid that swings. Then you buy tall kitchen plastic bags and get a Lysol type of spray to use inside the trash can (I get the spray at the dollar store 😉 Take out the used bag, spray Lysol inside the can, then line the can with plastic trash bag, put on the lid and its ready for more odor free service. I clean mine twice a week and its easy to do. This is how you get rid of your used bladder products and you keep the can within reach of the toilet. It keeps the smell down and is easy to take the trash out (much like you would do with diaper waste)
    I also have a can of disposable wipes to clean the surfaces of the toilet, the handles, the switches, the trash can…any place the senior is going to touch…I run over it to keep it clean. I keep this can under the sink…seniors can get confused and you do not want them to use these cleaning wipes with bleach on their own skin. This constant cleaning movement in the bathroom is  how we keep infections down and out of the house…clean to the max. If the senior has an emergency and leave urine or feces on the floor …then clean the bathroom again…to make sure its really germ free…and take out the stinky garbage bag and start again clean and ready to go.
  3. Wiping your bottom when you have had urinary/bowel problems is important…use 1 ply toilet paper…so it does not clog the system. The senior will forget and use way too much toilet paper–this will help. Put a baby-wipe container by the toilet and if the senior has bowel problems – they can wipe up and clean up with those and put them directly into the trash can that is there for them. The baby wipes are easy to use…BUT DO NOT PUT THEM IN THE TOILET. Put them into the trash can we have already placed by the toilet.
  4. Depends is the type of bladder control we know well. But there are other companies that make them. Buy the ones that will fit and will not be too expensive. This monthly cost is a perfect thing to give to a sibling that always says (what can I do?) they can pay for the expense of the monthly bladder control problems…Yeah.
  5. DependsNow there are different styles of the products, pull ups or closing pant like products. But what is not understood is that you also need to get the guards. The guards are the smaller pads…that go inside the Depend type underpants. That way you do not have to take off clothes to change the wet pants…you just put the guard/pad in and out and throw it away. It makes it easier to change during the day with two layers of protection!
  6. Medicare and insurance often support urinary support products. But to do this you need a doctor’s prescription. Keep this in mind. In that case you will set up an account with a medical vendor and they will send you the bladder control products in the mail. My Georgie has Veteran’s medical and I just call in the prescriptions number and it is delivered to my door. So easy to do and so much less money than personally purchasing it. As senior age and go through their health journey…they need more and more of these products. So plan ahead to use a medical service that delivers or mails.
  7. BiotinFamily doctors are great…but when you have bladder issues. No matter what your age, you need to go and see a specialist called, a Urologist. They have fancy equipment that will check your bladder and they will be able to help you with medication. Many times a simple medication that helps with the ‘urge’ to go to the bathroom…makes a huge change in someone’s life. (by the way…if you do use these medications..the side effect is dry mouth…Biotene has a great line of products to spray in your mouth, use as mouthwash or chews to take the dry mouth away.
  8. Both men with prostate problems and many woman who have had bladder issues since they gave birth many years before…they find answers with procedures that urologist suggest. Just remember when you do a procedure…you want to ask the doctor, what their stats for the procedure is? In other words you would say to the doctor: “Out of the last 10 people who you personally have done this procedure on…how many had little to no recovery problems? If they did have problems what were they? ” Never be afraid to be informed when you, or your senior, are going to do something with the body. Maybe the procedure is too much for an elder that has other difficult problems…or maybe it’s so simple that everyone should do them to improve the quality of their life.
  9. desitinRemember when you changed a baby’s diapers…do you remember you used baby powder and a rash cream? Well those are still on the shelf even today. To powder the seniors bottom to allow the ease of pulling up the Depends….or to use Desitin or other zinc products to protect delicate ‘private parts’ area skin from being burned with urine. You can buy these products at the dollar store too 🙂
  10. Talking about bladder and bowel issues with a senior…is hard to do. But, it’s like dealing with a child’s diaper issues…you have to deal with it and talk about it. Make your senior’s bathroom easy to use. If they are going to have these issues, they will be changing their bladder products…running in to make it to the toilet – etc. So put up handles on the wall by the toilet. Put the tall trash can close at hand. Keep a basket for the new Depends and the guards/pads close with scissors so the senior can use them with ease.
    Never forget to praise the elder for using the products well…their personal issues will be easier when you let them know you appreciate their ‘trying’ to keep clean and healthy. Keep your energy calm if they are in the middle of an “accident” and after it is over and the senior is back in their chair…you clean up the bathroom and then clean up yourself. The senior should be re-assured that they did not do anything wrong…and I always give them a sweet treat and some hot tea…to keep the senior calm and let them settle down. ( Imodium…should always be giving with a heavy hit of the runs…so keep it at hand.)

Hope these tips help you in your process of care giving. I know as mother’s journey got harder I added a commode by her bed for use at night. Now, I have just done the same thing for my George. He is using it at night when he is tired, a little dizzy from his evening medications and unsteady with his Parkinson’s. I keep trying to figure out how to help him over those very personal problems…that we all have everyday. Blessings on all you do for your senior. francy

–> Would you do me a favor and sign in to receive my blog via email? George needs so much care that I do not do the blog as often as I used to…so please sign in ….you will see it asks for your email and my blog will arrive in your inbox…right after I have finished the writing. Hope this finds all of you well….I will be doing a Holiday Gift Listing soon…so keep an eye open for it.


Get Elders Ready for Holidays


How to keep elders, that are not able to get around…happy and calm during holidays. by francy Dickinson

My sister Merrilee in her Kitchen at Thanksgiving

My sister Merrilee in her Kitchen at Thanksgiving

Dear Francy; My dad and his brother are both in their early 80’s and not able to be out and about. They help each other, but live alone…I am worried about this coming holiday. They are really going downhill. I don’t think they will be able to join us for dinner. Ideas on what to do to bring them cheer?

Thanks for the note…I totally understand. My Georgie is having too many problems to leave the house and join our family for our usual holiday dinner. So, I have developed ideas to help family members to spread the cheer in little ways.


  1. First, get a calendar on the wall so the senior can see the different holidays. Veterans Day…Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas or your own faith/or family holidays – all need to be put down so they can see what is coming.
  2. Call the senior and ask them what their favorite dish for Thanksgiving is…so you can make it for them. They may not be at the table…but they can feel a part of the day.
  3. Make a simple phone call from the family just before dinner…kids, grandkids, great grandkids…get them all on the phone…Telling the senior who they are and wishing them love.
  4. Prep a place for the seniors in your life…after dinner appoint a younger family member that drives to deliver the plate with pie! Tell them to arrive…get the food on a tray…stay 15 minutes and then return. Let the senior know they are coming…and it will be a fun break for the teens to get out of the house and do a good dead for Gramps or Grandma – Uncle or Auntie 😉
  5. Take a few pictures so when you go and visit the senior in the next few days after thanksgiving…they can see the family and hear about the dinner.
  6. Bake an extra pie. I always like to take a plate of dinner…but then leave a small pie for the senior to enjoy in the next few days. A good piece of pumpkin pie is like a lunch for most seniors…so why not give them a yummy treat.
  7. I always have a list of good ‘seniors in care’ gifts. So keep an eye open and I will be posting that before Christmas.
  8. If your senior is in a care facility…still go over with a piece of pie…or a left over of the senior’s…favorite dish from the dinner. All facilities try hard to entertain their guests at holiday…but certain family traditions can make their holiday. Seniors tend to remember the past, better than the present…so candy, cookies or holiday breads that your family always eats…are a real treat. Maybe search out a picture of a Thanksgiving dinner photo from long ago…what fun to remember!
  9. Out of town? You can do a little online food shopping. You can pay for fully cooked turkey dinner via local grocery chains like Safeway…but the in home caregiver would have to go and pick it up at the store…ready to heat. There are also so many goodies…like Sherries berries…my favorite…chocolate dipped strawberries that a dear friend of ours often sends to us. We are always so happy to get them and share them with those that stop by to visit 😉
  10. Taking the little grandkids over to visit…and have them practice a holiday song…to sing when they get there….or have them do child craft and drawings…to decorate Grandpa’s living area…so fun.
  11. Holidays are a time of year, not just a day. So, if you have Thanksgiving at your place…great…then the next day — take over the left overs and your immediate family. Eat the left overs at Grandma’s house so she gets the feeling of the family.
  12. Arriving on a day that is cold and rainy…with Thanksgiving decorations in your hand to put on the senior’s door…and in their living room area…that makes the whole month a special thought of love.
  13. Renting an old movie and going over to Auntie’s and sitting with them with popcorn and a movie that you have watched many times before…gives the feeling of family and history of love.
  14. Sending cards…is great…but include pictures of kids, pumpkins, dogs, what your car looks like, what your kitchen looks like in the middle of cookie baking…let the senior see into your life…so they can become a part of your holiday cheer.
  15. Take over a pumpkin pie early…and just sit for a half hour and talk with the senior…click on your record button on the phone and talk about old times. You will have recorded memories and the sound of the senior’s voice for all time. You can send the voice file and save it on your computer forever 😉
  16. If the senior is into using a laptop for games…pay for Ancestry.com and get them started…they can keep on working on their family history and stories…and then when they are gone…you have the family knowledge forever.
  17. A family holiday gift of a newer TV…is really a wonderful way to give your love. TV becomes a senior’s only touch to the outside world. To give them a newer TV that is easy to use and smaller than one that you would buy for your living room…is just right. It would be a family gift of $20-$50 dollars each and it would get 24 hr enjoyment…bring it over early so the senior can enjoy the many holiday shows on a clear – hi def…TV..
  18. Calling the senior during the month and telling them what you are doing. You can use it as a tool to keep your calendar in tact and they can enjoy just hearing your whirlwind life style and understand why you are not visiting them everyday 😉
  19. Don’t forget to take their ‘anipal’ a treat or new toy…or bring your dog over to visit. As with children, seniors often find holding a dog or cat will calm them and give them a feeling of place. Be sure to bath the dog before you visit and if you bring a cat…use a baby wipe to wipe them down to limit the dander.

I want to bless you for caring about your seniors. As George advances in his Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s this holiday is going to be quieter than ever. It makes it hard on me to give up my time with my own family. But having a small celebration with Georgie will be special too. I don’t know how many holidays we have left together…at least ones that he will understand. So, in my mind…I am making it as special as I can. francy