According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), some of the changes that affect the bladder with age can contribute to urinary incontinence (UI), urinary tract infections (UTIs), and similar medical problems for older adults. While age-related changes of this nature can’t be stopped altogether, there are some ways seniors can make an effort to maintain and boost their bladder health.
Drink Healthy Fluids
Water is the best of the healthy fluids that can help a bladder function well. The standard recommendation is eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. For seniors with kidney disease or other health issues that require limiting water intake, healthy alternatives include green tea, natural fruit juices, milk, and coconut water.
Eat High-Fiber Foods
Constipation can affect the ability to control the bladder and contribute to urinary incontinence in older adults. In addition to drinking more water, issues with constipation can be minimized with a high-fiber diet that includes:
- Oranges, bananas, and other fresh fruits
- Legumes, nuts, and seeds
- Cauliflower, carrots, and other raw vegetables
- Whole grains
- Air-popped popcorn
A home caregiver can help your loved one plan and prepare nutritious meals. If your aging loved one needs occasional help with bathing, grooming, cooking, or other basic household tasks, or if you need time to attend to important personal matters, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of live-in and respite care. Richmond seniors can maintain their independence while living at home with the help of our reliable respite caregivers.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Numerous studies note a link between excess weight and poor bladder health. Seniors can remedy this problem by making an effort to adopt healthy eating habits and become more physically active. A doctor-recommended weight loss plan can be beneficial, and seniors should try to get 150 minutes of exercise per week.
If your loved one needs help to exercise safely, a home caregiver can be a wonderful asset. There are many reasons seniors might need assistance at home. Some may require regular mental stimulation due to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, while others might only need part-time assistance with exercise and basic household tasks. Home Care Assistance is a leading homecare services provider. Families rely on our expertly trained caregivers to help their senior loved ones maintain a high quality of life.
Focus on Bladder-Friendly Exercises
Bladder-friendly exercises include ones that target pelvic and abdominal muscles. A common recommendation is Kegel exercises. Involving voluntary muscle contractions, Kegel exercises can be done while lying down or standing, and they strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that support the bladder. Older adults should initially aim for holding Kegel muscle contractions for 3–5 seconds 5–10 times a day.
Avoid “Holding It” & Other Poor Urination Habits
Some seniors are in the habit of ignoring the urge to urinate if it’s not a convenient time to use the restroom. However, doing this on a regular basis increases the risk of developing bladder, urinary tract, or kidney infections and weakening muscles that control bladder function. Along with not fighting the urge to urinate, seniors are encouraged to practice other healthy urination habits, such as:
- Taking the time to fully allow the bladder to empty
- Being in a relaxed position to urinate
- Wiping from the back to prevent spreading germs (for women)
The Urology Care Foundation cites research showing smoking irritates the bladder, and it can worsen urinary incontinence symptoms and contribute to overactive bladder and similar bladder conditions. It can also cause coughing fits, which can result in urine leakage.
Get Regular Health Checkups & Screenings
Not all signs of a bladder problem are as obvious as urine leakage. For instance, a bladder or urinary tract infection may produce vague symptoms, such as confusion, dizziness, or unexplained irritability. Age-appropriate screenings and exams can detect potential bladder-related or urinary system problems early. This includes screenings for bladder cancer, which is a disease that primarily affects the elderly.
Seniors can face a variety of age-related challenges. Though some families choose to take on the caregiving duties, there may come a time when they need a trusted Richmond senior home care provider. Families sometimes need respite from their duties so they can focus on their other responsibilities, and some seniors need around-the-clock assistance that their families are not able to provide. Home Care Assistance is here to help. If your senior loved one needs help with the challenges of aging, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (804) 207-4746.