What are the best incontinence products for seniors?
What are the best incontinence products for seniors?
It can be one of those awful moments in life – acknowledging that you or your partner may be having incontinence troubles. Maybe you catch a whiff on clothes. Maybe you notice stains on clothing or on the furniture.
At first, you hope it’s a one time thing. Then someone else mentions it, too. Suddenly you realize - this one’s on you. You are going to have to have the talk about incontinence, because no one else will. Now what?
The good news is that there are lots of great resources to help – explanations of men's incontinence vs women's incontinence, types of incontinence, and scripts for how to have ‘The conversation’ (even if it's with yourself). What they boil down to is this:
- Incontinence is an involuntary physiological condition. Translation? The issue is out of your control (right now), so stop thinking someone's ‘letting’ this happen;
- The person might not even be aware of the extent of the issue, or they have no idea what to do about it;
- Finding a solution is easier than you think.
Once you wrap your head around the fact that bladders aren't leaking just to make your life difficult, then you can get on with the fix.
Here's a simple to-do list:
- Make an appointment with the doctor so any medical issues can be ruled out;
- Get up to speed on the products to consider using; and
- Get some products ordered and in the bathroom right away.
Get up to speed on product options
Think about how cold weather clothing – base layers, light, warm fleece jackets, even gloves – have improved radically since you were a kid. Well, medical textiles for incontinence protection have also improved as dramatically.
Through aggressive science and solid research, products are upgrading all the time. There are options—and excellence—that just haven’t been available in the past.
Adult diapers aren't the only solution
Today’s product range is impressive, including disposable underwear and underwear liners, adult briefs (adult diapers), bed or chair pads, swimwear and even washcloths and skin care solutions.
Good news - we've done the research for you. We’ve already picked product brands with outstanding construction, unbeatable absorbency, first-rate odour control, overall capacity to contain leaks and the capability to be good to skin (don’t underestimate this one).
All you have to think through is the kind of product needed – and what your budget is.
*TIP: You don't need as many adult diapers, underwear or pads when you buy products with higher absorbency.
Higher absorbency = higher capacity = fewer changes needed per day or night
Start with daytime vs overnight - which is the bigger concern?
Think about your wardrobe – just like you’ve got clothes for at-home, social activities or bedtime – different bladder and bowel incontinence products exist for different uses too.
Incontinence products are developed for either daytime - lighter protection that catches leaks between bathroom breaks - or overnight (ideally, when asleep for 6-8 hours). Which situation are facing? Or do you need both?
If overnight, more protection, or more capacity, is needed so that the product absorbs more volume over a longer time period. More absorption means a better, uninterrupted sleep - better for health and safety (no falls).
Remember – more sleep means a better mood. And who doesn't prefer that?
Is mobility a factor in choosing incontinence products?
Can you change clothes easily, or do you need help getting out of bed and dressed? If you are independent, underwear liners and disposable underwear are the way to go.
If you need help getting around - such as using a walker - disposable briefs (adult diapers) have tabs on the side to change without needing to take pants off.
Finally, for 'around the house' (or car) protection, there are washable or disposable bed or chair pads that can easily protect prized furniture and mattresses.
Believe it or not, the washable furniture pads come in a range of colours to better blend in with blankets, throws and furniture.
Why is hip and waist size important?
If you think underwear, adult briefs (adult diapers) or swimwear might be in order, you'll need to know hip and waist size. Wearing the right size prevents leaks.
*TIP: If you wear size "medium" does not mean that your new disposable underwear is the same size. It probably is not!
Incontinence products aren't inexpensive - don't waste your money by guessing at the right size.
Fortunately, we have this handy graphic to show you exactly what you'll need to know, and how to measure to get the correct information:
Any easy view of how much fluid we are talking about...
Start with the numbers – one beer equals 12 ounces (341 ml). Thus 2/3 of a beer is 8 ounces (237 ml). And one 'typical' adult pee? Yep. Also 8 oz.
Alternatively, a glass of wine is generally contains 5 fluid ounces (148 ml), or a little less than one adult pee. Or 'void' if you're feeling queasy...
And that cup of tea? 8 oz.! Even with milk.
You need to figure out if you are dealing with less than a glass of beer or cup of tea or glass of wine at a time – maybe over several hours - or, far more, and how quickly.
When choosing an incontinence product, you want to know:
- How quickly does the product absorb?
- How much does it hold - a few drips, some leaks?
- How dry does it stay?
"Protection" is about capacity
What do we mean by ‘lighter’ vs ‘more’ protection? It’s about capacity. As incontinence product manufacturers don't use the same language to describe the capacity of their products, it can be difficult to figure out the difference between them.
To help you sort it out, we developed a Total Capacity Rating system we use to standardize capacity across all the brands and products we sell.
Watch for the Total Capacity Rating when browsing My Liberty's underwear and underwear liners or adult briefs (adult diapers), bed or chair pads, swimwear and washcloths.
That way, you can make sure the products you choose are right for your needs right now (vs later, when more protection might be needed).
In the meantime, consider these product options, each in increasing order of capacity.
Light bladder leak protection options
Men's guards, women's panty liners or pads, or unisex liners are available as disposable products. They are quiet, discreet and comfortable. They protect against the drips or dribbles of slight to light wetness. Ultra-thin and absorbent, these are worn inside regular underwear.
They offer daytime protection from occasional bladder leaks and are shaped differently for women (hour glass) vs men (cup shaped).
Men's Underwear Shields or Guards
Women's Underwear Panty Liners or Pads
Guards, shields, panty liners, pads and underwear liners stay in place with a strong adhesive grip. Slim and inconspicuous, guards or pads are suitable for light bladder loss.
Moderate bladder leak protection options
Disposable Incontinence Underwear
Disposable underwear are lightweight, discreet and good for light-to-moderate leakages.
They can look and feel similar to regular underwear, and the higher end brands use materials that don't 'rustle'. They are easy to pull on, take off and throw out, and will give you the comfort and confidence to get through a worry-free day.
Men's Disposable Underwear
With impermeable backsides and a cloth-like outer layers, disposable underwear options offer soft comfort, discretion and superior leakage protection over guards or underwear liners. Disposable underwear are perfect if you are mobile or semi-mobile.
It's also easy to keep a few extra pairs of disposable underwear stashed strategically around - maybe a few in the car or at the cottage. If there is an accident, no worries. Grab a new pair and get on with the day - no muss, no fuss.
Significant bladder or fecal incontinence protection options
Disposable briefs (with tabs on the side that make them easy to open / close), also called adult diapers—are another option if you are away from home and need to change.
Men's Disposable Briefs (Adult Diapers)
Women's Disposable Briefs (Adult Diapers)
With disposable briefs, the side tabs make changing quick and easy, and you get superior protection for leakage over incontinence underwear. In fact, some of these products can hold as much as the equivalent of 44 oz.
It’s important to point out that these briefs do not look like regular underwear so they may not be your first choice, but with the right fit (back to that hip size issue) they will offer a snug fit and be discreet under clothes.
In fact, disposable briefs (or adult diapers) can be a bit of a life saver on long trips where access to bathrooms - or even finding accessible bathrooms (or any bathroom at all!) - might be a challenge.
Additional bladder leak protection options: bed and chair covers
Washable, reusable, absorbent furniture protection
Today's waterproof mats or covers are machine washable. Available in different sizes and colours, these can products will save your favourite chair or the mattress.
These range in size from a 'standard' chair cover (1.5'x1.5' or 19"x19") to pads that go across the bed, or even cover the full length of a twin mattress.
These waterproof mats are designed to protect furniture from all sorts of fluids. They lie flat, on top of your furniture and stay in place with either a grippy material on the back or with mattress tucks-ins.
Disposable absorbent furniture protection
Disposable underpads help keep linens, mattresses, chairs, sofas and other surfaces (think car or wheelchair) dry and clean. Soft, absorbent and durable even when wet — and are even strong enough for overnight.
Underpads offer rapid absorption with strong, cloth-like backsheets that resist tearing as your parents moves around. The outer layer is soft and rustle-free to minimize sleep interruption.
How to get the right products today
We're at the 3rd and final to-do; getting the right products for your needs.
My Liberty carries all the products we've explained here - you'll find them in our Men's Collection or our Women's Collection.
You can order any of them online anytime. Or contact us by email or call toll free at 1 (888) 800-4356 and we'll help you make a choice and place the order.
We deliver across Canada, and we can ship the products directly to your address. Once you figure out the right products, we can schedule deliveries at whatever frequency makes the most sense for you. The products will show up magically, just like any other online order.
Trust us when we say we've been there and we know how to help. Every day, we work with customers to solve what feels like an overwhelming problem. It isn't. Get in touch anytime - we've got you covered.
- Cindy Clegg