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GET ACTIVE

Encourage others to start talking and gain control of their bladder health!  We've made it simple for you to share National Bladder Health Week news, resources, tips and tools with your friends, family and healthcare providers.  We have a variety of  simple activities you can choose from to promote awareness of bladder health.  They are cut and paste one of the sample newsletter or emails below.

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NAFC is a non-profit offering resources for #incontinence, #bladderleakage, bedwetting, OAB, SUI, nocturia, neurogenic bladder, and pelvic floor disorders.

Incontinence Stories From Experts & Real People | NAFC BHealth Blog

Log in daily to learn tips about #incontinence, #bladder leakage, overcoming symptoms, and first hand accounts from experts and patients.

 

Dry Night Solution: A Helpful Tool For Adult Bedwetting

Sarah Jenkins

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Over a year ago, NAFC launched the Dry Night Solution Kit, designed to help adult bedwetters find the right products to stay dry throughout the night. The kit has been a success in helping thousands of individuals who struggle with adult bedwetting wake up to a drier morning.

If you struggle with adult bedwetting and haven’t yet tried the Dry Night Solution Kit, here’s your chance!

Our kit offers you the chance to try a variety of products at a very low price so that you can easily see what works best for you. When you order the kit, you will receive the following:

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  • 1 Trial Bag of Reassure Overnight Underwear
  • 1 Trial Bag of Reassure Underpads
  • 2 Individual Reassure Booster Pads
  • 2 Individual Reassure Daytime Maximum Underwear
  • 2 Reassure Overnight Samples
  • 2 Reassure Washcloth Travel Packs
  • 2 Individual Tranquility Overnight Underwear
  • $55 in valuable money savings coupons

Not only that, but you’ll also have the chance to talk to a qualified bedwetting consultant for free to get advice about your condition and other products that may work for you. 

To order your kit, simply click the link below, or call 855-266-1112 and mention Promo Code 018000 to receive free shipping.

 

 

A Caregivers Guide To Keeping The Bed Dry

Sarah Jenkins

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One of the most challenging things about being a caregiver to someone who has incontinence can be the mornings. Waking up each day to your loved one’s wet bed can be both physically and emotionally draining. No one likes to wash and change sheets each day, and knowing the discomfort (and likely embarrassment) that your loved one feels can be disheartening.  In fact, incontinence is often a big reason that older adults are placed into long-term care facilities.

The key to managing this problem is prevention. Having the right tools at your disposal will do wonders to help keep the bed dry and your loved one comfortable.  And remember, layers are your friend. They will help keep any leaks to a minimum and make clean up so much easier. Here are some of our top tricks for keeping the bed dry and making your life a little easier.

  1. Zippered, Vinyl Waterproof Mattress Cover. This should go on the bed first and will help keep any moisture from getting on the mattress. After all, replacing a mattress is expensive, and getting lingering odors out of them is very hard. If you do nothing else, do this.
  2. Waterproof Mattress Pad. Use this as a second layer – it’s a softer, but still waterproof cover that will go over your vinyl cover.
  3. Waterproof Flat Sheet.  
  4.  Waterproof Underpad. You can use these both under, and on top of a flat sheet if you wish, and they can be disposable or washable. We recommend putting a large, sturdy, washable pad on the flat sheet, then topping that with a disposable pad that you can simply toss in the trash when needed.
  5. Use Layers Of Blankets Instead Of A Thick Comforter. These are easier to wash in the event of an accident.
  6. Disposable Absorbent Products. A good fitting disposable absorbent product is key. Find one for nighttime use (they’re more absorbent) and make sure the fit is good – you don’t want anything too tight or too lose, as it will lead to leaks. For a breakdown on what to look for, see our guide on absorbent products here.
  7. Skincare Protection. While this won’t protect your bedding, it will protect your loved one. Proper skincare protection can help keep skin from getting irritated or chapped due to accidents that happen during the night. 

Try these tips for a drier night, and happier morning. 

What tips do you have for a dry night? Share them with us in the comments below!

Demand To Be Dry: Why NAFC Is Fighting For Absorbent Standards Across The Country

Sarah Jenkins

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While most people know NAFC as a provider of education and support to those who live with incontinence, did you also know that we work tirelessly to raise awareness of the condition, and to ensure that you have quality products to manage the condition?

For many years, NAFC has been on a mission to ensure that all adult absorbent products made in the US adhere to certain quality standards. Why is this an issue?  Simply put, not every absorbent product is equal. Some work better than others, and this can create several problems:

  • Cost to the Patient. Inferior absorbent products are simply not as absorbent, which can result in the need for frequent changes. If you’re constantly changing products, it’s going to cost you a lot more money.  
  • Skin Irritation. Inferior products don’t do as good of a job at keeping the skin dry. Left in a wet product for too long, skin can become damaged, irritated, or infected. This can lead to an increase in skin irritation or more serious conditions like UTI’s or skin dermatitis
  • Medicare supported products. Those who rely on Medicare to help pay for absorbent products are at a disadvantage too, since these decisions are typically based solely on price, resulting in the use of cheap and often lower quality products.
  • Confusing Choices. With so many products on the market, caregivers and patients have a hard time weeding through the good from the bad.

All of this can lead to a negative overall impact on the quality of life for users and their families. This is why NAFC is fighting to get every state to adopt a set of standards that absorbent manufactures must follow.

These recommended standards include the following:

  • Instill A Ceiling For Rewet Rate. Rewet rate is a measure of a product’s ability to withstand multiple incontinent episodes between changes. It is the ability of the product to prevent the skin from being “rewet” by bodily fluids and is essential in skin protection.
  • Evaluate Rate Of Absorption. This refers to the amount of time it takes for a product to absorb a given amount of fluid and is important in reducing the amount of time skin is exposed to moisture following an incontinent episode. The more skin is exposed to moisture, the greater chance it has of becoming irritated.
  • Set Limits on Retention Capacity. Retention capacity measures a product’s ability to hold fluid without leaking. This is important not only in preventing leaks (isn’t that why you use absorbents in the first place?) but also in protecting the skin from increased moisture.
  • Ensure That Sizing Options Are Available. Because fit is an important factor in reducing the chance for leaks, sizing options matter. NAFC recommends that each state ensure that there is a variety of sizing choices available for patients to choose from to ensure the best possible fit.
  • Account For Varying Levels Of Absorbency. Not everyone experiences the same amount of leakage, so multiple options should be available to patients. Choosing the right level of absorbency can help protect the skin, reduce product waste, and optimize cost.
  • Use Safe Materials. Believe it or not, not every manufacturer uses high quality products to create their absorbency products. As part of the NAFC initiative, we recommend that none of the components in an absorbent product, including additives, be listed in any federal regulatory agency as “unsafe”.
  • Include Closure Systems on Briefs and Protective Underwear. Closures help patients in a couple of different ways – it promotes a better fit, and also reduces waste by making it easier to check for wetness without having to throw out the product.
  • Build In “Breathable Zones”.  Ensuring that enough air is allowed to flow in and out of the product reduces heat and humidity within the absorbent product, making it more comfortable and safe for the skin.
  • Institute Good Elasticity In Products. Elasticity may not seem like a big deal, but it helps to provide a comfortable and snug fit when wearing briefs or protective underwear. This can be especially important to those who experience chronic, loose bowels or diarrhea.

Currently, only NAFC has published standards for disposable absorbent products and there are no national quality standards for adult disposable absorbent products. Without national standards, caregivers and providers of adult absorbent products are forced to make incontinence product purchasing decisions with limited knowledge or understanding of product efficacy. This creates added waste (in terms of product, and wasted dollars), and can create health issues for patients as well. NAFC is working to make it easier for states to adopt these standards, and we need your help.

What You Can Do.

Help NAFC fight for these national standards to ensure that everyone has access to high quality products.

  • Pledge your support.  Help to ensure that Medicaid recipients who rely on incontinence goods receive quality products that are appropriate for their specific condition!  Please sign the NAFC’s petition, urging your state to adopt and implement NAFC’s "Quality Performance Standards for Disposable Adult Absorbent Products".

To find your state's pledge of support, click here.

  • Make a donation.  NAFC and the Council for Quality Absorbent Products are fighting to ensure that national quality standards are in place for adult disposable absorbent products. Please donate now to help us ensure that every state adopts these national standards. 

For a historical overview of NAFC’s Standards initiative, please review the published journal article as well as original suggested test methods.  Please note that the test methodologies related to NAFC’s Performance Standards for Disposable Absorbent Products for Incontinence have since been defined, documented and published by INDA and appear in The Harmonized Test Methods of the Nonwovens and Related Industries, 2012 Edition, published by INDA, Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry and EDANA, International Association Serving the Nonwovens and Related Industries and The Harmonized Test Methods of the Nonwovens and Related Industries, 2015 Edition, published by INDA, Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry and EDANA, International Association Serving the Nonwovens and Related Industries. Click here for a list of current INDA test methods as related to NAFC’s Performance Standards for Disposable Absorbent Products for Incontinence.

 

3 Reasons You Should Use A Mail Order Service When Ordering Incontinence Supplies

Sarah Jenkins

home delivery

If you live with bladder leakage or care for someone who does, then you’ve been there. Walking into a grocery store or supermarket, standing in the incontinence aisle, completely overwhelmed by the number of options to choose from. “Which brand is the best? What style should I try? How do I know this product will work?”, you may be wondering.  And then, when you finally make your choice, you stand in the check out lane, wondering who is watching, and what the clerk is thinking as you complete your purchase. 

It can be emotionally overwhelming. That’s why NAFC highly advocates for using a mail order service for incontinence supplies. Read below for our top 3 reasons.

Top 3 Reasons To Use A Mail Order Service When Ordering Incontinence Supplies

  1. More options.  Let’s face it – even though it may seem like you’re looking at a wall of incontinence supplies when you shop, your local drugstore only has so much space. When it comes to number of options, a mail order supply company can’t be beat. They have warehouses full of different brands – many of which you may not have heard of before (but may be just what you need!). Many mail supply companies also offer sampler kits, which allow you to try out several types of products or brands without having to invest in full packages of something you aren’t sure will work for you yet. Simply put, you won’t get a wider array of product options anywhere else.
  2. It’s Discreet. No perusing the products in the middle of the store. No one to see you checking out at the register. Mail order is discreet. Products arrive directly to your door, usually in non-descript packaging, ensuring that your privacy is kept in tact.
  3. You can get help from someone who knows what they’re talking about. This may be one of the biggest benefits to using a mail order service. A trained professional is usually available to walk through your symptoms, how you’ll use the product, and your preferences, to help you choose a product that is just right for you. They know the features of the products, have heard first hand how they work for their customers, and can be invaluable when trying to decide which product will work best for your needs. You won’t get that level of service at your local grocery store.

So how do you find a mail order service? Here are two that we highly recommend.  Check them out and make your first order today.

Home Delivery Incontinence Supply (HDIS)

Live Anew

Ask The Expert: How Do I Keep Myself Odor Free When I Have Incontinence?

Sarah Jenkins

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Each month, we ask our expert panel to answer one of our reader's questions. To learn more about the NAFC Expert Panel, and how to submit your own question, see below.

Question:  I live with incontinence and am often concerned about others noticing a certain “smell” about me. How do I ensure that my incontinence problem lead to an odor problem?

Expert Answer: Many people with incontinence often worry about this issue. But, it’s an easy one to solve as long as you’re diligent in following a few simple steps.

1.     Change often. If you wear absorbent pads, make sure you change them often to avoid smell. Fit and type of product is also important – a close fitting product will hold odors better than something that fits too loosely, and some products have odor-reducing materials built in, which can help prevent smells. In addition, stool or urine get onto your bedding or clothing, wash them right away, or place them in an airtight container until you are able to wash them to prevent odors from making their way throughout your house. If you’re on the go, pack a disposable plastic ziplock bag to store any soiled clothing due to leaks.

2.     Drink plenty of fluids. While many people with incontinence may try to limit their fluids, you should never do so to the limit that you become dehydrated. Drinking too little fluid throughout the day makes your urine more concentrated, and more likely to smell. The general guidance is 6-8 glasses a day. You’ll know if you’re drinking enough water by the color of your urine – clear urine with almost no color (and hardly any smell) is a good sign your staying hydrated – if your urine is a concentrated yellow, it could be a sign you need to drink a bit more.

3.     Be diligent about hygiene. It’s essential that you wash daily and clean yourself well after any accidents and after each pad or application change with a gentle cleanser.  If your skin becomes irritated, you can use a moisturizer or a protective ointment. The best line of defense against odor is ensuring that skin is kept clean and absorbent products are frequently changed or washed.

Read about more tips to stay clean and odor free! 

Are you an expert in incontinence care? Would you like to join the NAFC expert panel? Have a question you'd like answered? Contact us!

The 3 Most Important Things To Consider When Choosing An Adult Absorbent Product

Sarah Jenkins

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Finding the right protection for bladder leaks – for yourself, or for someone you care for – can be daunting. There are so many choices – how do you know what will work best?

When thinking about absorbent products, and ultimately, deciding on one to buy, think hard about these three things – they are the most important factors when deciding on an absorbent product.

Top 3 Things To Consider In An Adult Absorbent Product

Form. Think about how you’ll be using this product, and what matters most to you or your loved one in terms of comfort and ease. Are you very mobile? If so, pads or absorbent briefs may work well. Are you caring for someone confined mostly to a bed, or chair, then a product with tabs may be a better option for easier removal. Consider your lifestyle and make choice that will be conducive to how you live.

Fit. Out of all the things to consider, this is probably the most important. Finding the right fit should be your top priority since getting something too loose or too tight can lead to leaks. Different products have different sizing options so try them out and make sure that the fit feels good.

Function.  Think about your individual leakage when deciding on an absorbent product. Do you leak mostly at night, or during the day? Do you leak large amounts of urine or just a little bit? Is your leakage problem frequent, or is it just occasional. All of these answers can weigh in to the absorbency level of the product you choose, and many manufactures make specific products for each scenario. Think about your patterns and choose accordingly.

Don’t be afraid to consult a physician, or to call an online retailer, such as Live Anew or HDIS. They have product specialists that can help you find the perfect product by asking you questions about your specific.

 

 

Is Sitting Making You Older?

Sarah Jenkins

Is Sitting Making You Older?

We’re sure you’ve all heard the dangers of sitting too much. Being too sedentary can cause all sorts of issues, including organ damage, muscle degeneration, leg disorders, back pain, and even a greater risk of mortality.  But did you know that sitting for too long actually ages you too?

A recent study looked at just how much sitting can affect your “age”. The study, performed by Aladdin Shadyab from the University of California San Diego, took blood samples from 1500 women, and measured their daily activity levels using accelerometers. The researcher then looked at the impact sitting had on the women’s chromosomes. The study found that women who did not meet the recommended 30 minutes of physical daily activity, and spent more time sedentary (roughly 10 hours) were about 8 years older than those who were also inactive but not quite as sedentary. However, women who met the recommended daily activity level seemed to show no association between their chromosome age and how much they sat. This seems to suggest that exercise may counteract the aging process.  (Read more about the study here from Time.)

While the research is still out on exactly how much exercise you need to do daily to negate the aging effects, getting in the daily-recommended 30 minutes is a good place to start.  Wondering how to fit in 30 minutes a day? Here are a few ideas

  • Brisk Walking
  • Biking
  • Dancing
  • Resistance training (be sure to hit all the major muscle groups, including lower and upper body)
  • Running
  • Bodyweight cardio, like jumping jacks

Beyond that, try to avoid sitting for too long. Working at a desk job can make this challenging, but there are things you can do there too that can keep you from being too sedentary. Many work places have instituted standing work stations to combat the negative effects of aging. You may also try sitting on a balance ball, which helps to activate your muscles more than sitting in a normal chair. If these are not options for you (or even if they are), even just setting an alarm every hour to remind yourself to stand up and walk around a bit can help.  (Read this article for some more ideas to combat sitting during the workday.)

If you’re home all day, don’t get caught in the sitting trap. Take up a new hobby, such as gardening, or golf. Move around the house regularly. Find a friend to take a walk with. Clean the house. Anything you can do to stay active will help you in the long run.

Help Us Learn More About Overactive Bladder By Participating In A Short Survey!

Sarah Jenkins

Do you find yourself constantly needing to use the bathroom? Do you often get the sudden urge to go? You may have Overactive Bladder, and we want to hear from you!

At NAFC, part of our mission is to uncover trends and insights into the different conditions related to incontinence. In turn, we share those insights with you, and other readers, to hep raise awareness of incontinence, and to help you find new ways of coping or managing with these conditions.

NAFC is currently conducting a survey to learn more about patients with Overactive Bladder, including how they were diagnosed, how comfortable they were talking about it with their doctor, the treatment options they have tried, and how the condition impacts their lives and makes them feel. We need your help. This is a non-paid survey, and the results will be used to help raise awareness of Overactive Bladder and to encourage more patients to seek treatment for this manageable condition.

Please consider taking this short 10-minute survey to share your voice on this topic. Your unique insights will help us continue helping others impacted by Overactive Bladder.

Create your survey with SurveyMonkey

As always, thank you so much for your support!

Sincerely,

NAFC

How Can You Show Gratitude Toward Yourself And Others?

Steve Gregg

Showing gratitude toward yourself and others isn’t just being grateful for positive things and moments in life, but also cutting yourself and others a break from the endless expectations life brings. When you’re dealing with incontinence, it’s even more important to look outside your body’s limitations. Being grateful for the abilities you do have and sharing that gratitude with others is known to increase personal happiness and lessen the chances of feeling depressed.

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We’ve gathered our best practices for living a grateful life below. Share your practices in the comments!

Say ‘thank you’ and mean it. Be specific!

The key to telling people thank you isn’t just muttering the words ‘thank you,’ but being specific about what you’re grateful for. Instead of saying ‘Thanks for helping me today,” say, “Thank you for talking out the trash this evening. Your willingness to chip in on that chore really helped me focus on getting dinner on the table.”

Write yourself a compliment and leave it where you can read it

Showering yourself with words of affirmation and encouragement is just as important as doing it for others.  Self-gratitude and self-affirmation builds confidence and assurance in one’s abilities. Learning how to do this is hard, but start by leaving notes for yourself.

Read one caregiver blogger’s thoughts on the issue here.

Offer your time and skills to a family member

Nothing shows gratitude for someone else more than your time. Use one of your greatest (and free-of-charge) gifts and show your loved ones how much they matter to you by spending quality time with them.

Invite a sibling to coffee or take a parent out to dinner!

Click here to read other ways to express gratitude on a daily basis. 

How To Have An End-Of-Life-Care Talk With Your Parent

Sarah Jenkins

End Of Life Care

It’s not something we ever want to think about, much less discuss. But we all get older, and sooner or later, there will be decisions that need to be made when it comes to how we, and our loved ones, want to be cared for toward the end of our life.  Talking about dying is not fun, but it is necessary to do it ahead of time to ensure that everyone’s wishes and needs are met – especially in the event that a loved one can no longer make those wishes heard on his or her own.

When talking with a parent, approach them directly, and let them know that you’d like to talk about how they’d like to be cared for as they get older.  This involves asking them questions about how involved they’d like to be in their medical care (do they want their doctors to do what they think is best or do they want to have a say in every decision), how much they want their family involved, what to do in the event of life-support or a terminal illness, etc. Talking about and documenting these wishes early will help prevent confusion later on and can ensure that your parent’s end-of-life wishes are carried out the way they would like.

Need some help getting things going? The Conversation Project is dedicated to helping people have discussions on end of life and has a great starter kit available on their website. Download yours here.

 

 

 

Present A Class With NAFC And Get Free Presentation Materials!

Sarah Jenkins

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NAFC is pleased to again offer the chance for you to receive our free presentation materials this fall. In honor of National Bladder Health Awareness Month, we're offering you the chance to download our renowned presentation kits when you agree to host a class in your local community. Why do we do this? Because we want to spread the word about pelvic health to as many people as we can!  

This year, we have 4 great presentations to choose from:

BE STRONG: Building Strength From The Inside Out

STAY STRONG: Caring For Your Pelvic Floor Through Menopause And Beyond

BE STRONG: Sex & The Pelvic Floor

BE STRONG: Building Strength & A Healthy Prostate

 

How Do I Get My Kit?

Click here to learn more about each of our presentation kits, sign up to host any or all of the above classes, and receive access to download your kit materials. It's that simple!  

Sign up today and help us spread the word about the benefits of pelvic floor health!

Aging is Easier When You Build a Community

Steve Gregg

They say two heads are better than one. And the old adage of a village raising a child isn’t just made up. Building community is key to longevity, positivity and happiness, and overall health.

People need other people and that need couldn’t be more apparent than during the aging process. Aging is much like growing up. It’s uncharted territory fraught with new experiences and changes in the body. Unfortunately, experiencing aging alone is more common that we realized.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported 11 million or 28% of people aged 65 and older, lived alone in 2010. As spouses and family members age and die, the likelihood of living alone increases. Although living alone and spending time alone isn’t a problem in and of itself, it can lead to isolation, which can lead to depression.

Additional strains of loneliness include physical health decline, vulnerability to elder abuse, cognitive decline, high blood pressure, and pessimism about the future. Some experts point to these statistics as reasons for community care with other elders or co-housing.

So how do caregivers or individuals in the midst of aging create or find community? They build relationships and attachments to recurring activities and engagements.
 

We recommend starting small and branching out. Look around your neighborhood and see if there are opportunities for friendships with neighbors. Or beyond the fence-- go to your local senior center and try a new class.

Building habits around time spent with other people is crucial. The importance of that time can’t be stressed enough. Click here to watch one of our favorite examples of the beauty of community.

How have you seen community benefit the aging process?

Caregivers In An Aging Population

Sarah Jenkins

caregiving in an aging population

Sally was 56 when she first decided to invite her dad to live with her. He was 80 years old and had been suffering with a slight form of dementia for a few years. Recently, his episodes had gotten worse and she decided that the time had come where she simply could not leave him on his own.  

Because she was an only child, most of the burden of care fell on her.  And while she was happy to do it, it was more challenging than she could have ever realized. Her already busy life was suddenly filled with even more responsibilities: helping him with his daily activities, accompanying him to doctor’s appointments, researching medical needs and performing tasks that were new to her. It didn't take long to reach the point where her career was suffering. While her boss was understanding, she had to reduce her hours just to be available to her father when he needed her. The financial strain was as great as the emotional one.

Sally’s issues aren't unique. So many who find themselves in a caregiver role are forced to make the same sacrifices, and the stresses can be overwhelming. And now that our population is aging quickly, these issues are only going to increase.

 The AARP estimates that by 2050 there will be only 3 potential caregivers for every person aged 80 and above. That’s a drastic difference from today’s 7-to-1 ratio.

Why the sharp decline?  In just 10 years, the oldest of the Baby Boomer generation will be slipping into their 80’s, and with them, the need for additional care. Unfortunately, with the population expected to grow at just a 1% pace over the next several years, the caregiver ratio simply won’t be able to keep up. The AARP estimates that over the next several years we’ll see a steady decline in the ratio of caregivers to older adults, with the sharpest decline happening as the Baby Boomers reach their 80’s.

What are the implications here? In the coming years, caregivers will need more support than ever before.  The greater number of caregivers will create an increased need for nationwide Long Term Services and Support.  And workplace policies will need to accommodate flexible work schedules to allow caregivers the extra time they so desperately need. In addition, care for the caregivers themselves will need to be addressed to ensure that they have the tools to take care of themselves, as well as their loved ones.  Things such as providing extra funding or tax credits to caregivers, creating more resources for caregivers to ensure they have the tools and skills needed to care for their loved ones, adjusting FMLA laws to allow for greater workplace flexibility and time off, and making adjustments to medicare and medicaid to cover caregiver coordination services are just a few of the things that can be done to avert this growing crisis.  Putting these types of resources and policies in place is crucial in the coming years if we want to support the caregiving community and our growing, older population.

MARKET RESEARCH STUDY FOR PROFESSIONAL CAREGIVERS OR FAMILY MEMBERS OF URINARY INCONTINENCE SUFFERERS MAKE $20 FOR A 20-MINUTE ONLINE SURVEY

Sarah Jenkins

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Participating in research is one of the most powerful ways to get involved and help companies find new products and improve existing ones so they can work better for more people living with incontinence.  

WE’RE LOOKING FOR CAREGIVERS OR FAMILY MEMBERS OF THOSE WHO SUFFER FROM URINARY INCONTINENCE.

Take part now in this online study with topics relevant to your everyday life. 

The study should take only 20 minutes and, if eligible, individuals will receive $20 for their time upon survey completion. 

CLICK HERE TO TAKE PART IN THE SURVEY!

The purpose of this online marketing research survey is to gather data from participants to use in uncovering insights of relevance to our clients. All information or data you choose to share during the course of this survey is done so voluntarily on your part and will be kept strictly confidential and used for marketing research purposes only.  Survey results are reported in aggregate, and your responses to our survey questions will never be associated with your name.

How Seniors Can Age-In-Place Comfortably And Safely

Sarah Jenkins

How Seniors Can Age-In-Place Comfortably And Safely

Many seniors can continue to live vital and active lives well after retirement, but safety is always a concern when a senior is living alone. As our bodies age, the risk of falls, broken bones, and other injuries increases, and for some, staying in the home may not be feasible. This is especially true when the home contains stairs, clutter, or walkways that aren’t accessible to wheelchairs or walkers. That’s why it’s imperative for seniors to assess their home to see what dangers might be lurking, to repair or replace any broken appliances, and take a good look at what their needs will be in the coming years.

Here are some of the best tips for senior safety while aging-in-place.

Update

If you have lived in the same home for many years, it’s possible that several updates need to be made in the kitchen and bathroom areas. Take a look at appliances and fixtures such as the stove, refrigerator, and bathtub and consider replacing worn-out technology with newer models. Many appliances now come with “smart” features--such as alarms and automatic shutoff--that would be extremely helpful for a senior. As for the bathroom, add non-slip rubber mats to the floor and tub, as well as a safety bar and shower seat.

Assess

Take a look at your home through the eyes of an older version of yourself. Will you be able to climb the stairs easily, or navigate through walkways? Remove any clutter, old rugs with turned-up corners or slippery backs, and furniture that could provide a trip hazard. Add lighting to stairwells and main living areas to ensure visibility; nightlights are a wonderful tool to have in every room. It’s also a good idea to make sure bedrooms and bathrooms will be accessible from a wheelchair and that doorways are wide enough, especially in older homes.

Security and home safety

For peace of mind, it’s always nice to have door alarms or motion sensors on the property, but they can also be helpful in reminding you to lock up. Consider investing in an alarm service and having motion sensor lights installed around the perimeter, which will aid your vision at night.

It’s also a good idea to make sure there are up-to-date fire extinguishers in the kitchen and in any living space where there might be candles or smoking. Install carbon monoxide and smoke alarms in living spaces.

Consider getting a pet

Dogs and cats can be wonderful companions, and for seniors, they can also be service animals. These animals do much more than provide loyal company; they also help lower stress levels and can be extremely helpful for individuals living with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Aging-in-place may seem like a big undertaking, but if you take it one step at a time and plan well, you might be able to stay in your own home for the rest of your days.

About the Author:  Caroline James is the co-founder of Elder Action, which aims to provide useful information to aging seniors.

Ask The Expert: What Are The Top Things I Should Consider When Thinking About Placing My Loved One In A Long-Term Care Facility?

Sarah Jenkins

Ask The Expert: Long Term Care

Expert Answer: Placing your loved one in a facility is an extremely difficult decision. There are so many things to think about, but here are three of the top things to consider:  

Quality Of Life.

While it may seem obvious, how your loved one will be treated at the facility you choose is one of the most important things to consider.  Is the staff respectful? Do the residents have some say over how they spend their time? What services and activities are available? Will they have the privacy they desire? Think about your loved one and what is important to them. Will this home provide that?

Quality Of Care.

Of course the main reason that you are looking for a care facility is because your loved one needs the help. It is important to look at all aspects of the care provided at a facility when making your decision. Ask about what their plan of care is and who is in charge of it. Who are the doctors or nurses that will be looking after your loved one? How often are residents checked on and how long do they have to wait if they need assistance.

Cost.

Unfortunately, some care facilities may be ruled out simply because of their costs. Know what you can afford, and look for quality facilities that fall into your price range.

Once you’ve done your research and narrowed down the facilities to ones that seem to fit your criteria, be sure to visit each of them to get a feel for what they are like. After all, this will be your loved one’s new home, and just like shopping for a house, you may feel a special connection toward one that you just can’t see on paper. For a complete list of things to consider when searching for a good long term care facility, read our guide here.

NAFC's Top 8 Tips For Caregivers

Sarah Jenkins

Tips For Caregivers

Being a caregiver to someone you love is complicated work – it can be both rewarding, and draining all at once. The emotional and physical demands placed on a caregiver are many. Add to that the financial strain that many caregivers face and it’s easy to see how caregivers can become a bit stressed out at times. Read below to learn our Top 8 Tips for Caregivers.

Learn To Take Care Of Yourself First.

Before you can even begin to care for someone else, you need to ensure that your own needs are met. Eating well, getting good sleep, and exercising regularly will help you stay healthy and energized. And don’t forget about taking regular breaks and time outs for yourself – it may seem like an extravagance, but fitting in a little alone time can do wonders for your mood.  You’ll come back feeling refreshed and ready to take on the daily demands of caregiving.

Get Organized.

Medical files, legal documents, financial information – who knew that caregiving would involve so much paperwork! Get organized right from the start and create a system that will allow you to keep track of all your important records.  Also, speak with your loved one and make sure that you know their wishes for end of life care and make sure you get any paperwork needed in order.

Get The Help You Need.

There are lots of services out there that can help you manage the load of caregiving. Finding extra medical support, meal assistance, or even having a friend or family member help out for a few hours each week can help shoulder a lot of the burden of caregiving.

Simplify Your Own Life.

Taking care of someone else can make your other daily chores seem harder. Outsource what you can and automate everything else. Hire a cleaning person. Sign up for a food service like Blue Apron. Have your groceries delivered or set up an auto grocery list online for things that you purchase regularly. Set up automatic bill pay for your fixed expenses. Simplifying these things can help free up some of your precious time and energy, and help keep you from becoming overwhelmed.

Connect With Others.

Things are always easier when you have someone else to talk to. Sign up for one of the many online networks available to caregivers and chat with others who understand. You may even be able to find a local support group in your area. Here are some great networks to check out:

Find Ways To Connect With Your Loved One Daily.

With all the routine demands of caregiving – bathing, feeding, managing medications – it can be easy to forget one of the most important things an aging loved one needs – human connection. Don’t get so caught up in the daily demands that you forget to spend quality time with your loved one. Taking daily walks, reading or listening to audio books, playing card games, looking through old pictures or even just watching a favorite television show together can help make your loved one feel loved and connected. And telling them how much you love them will never get old.

Learn About Your Loved One’s Condition.

Learn as much as you can about any conditions that your loved one may be dealing with. Knowing what to expect and how to handle it can make a world of difference.

Put Yourself In Their Shoes.

Caregiving can sometimes be a thankless job, and it’s easy to see how frustrations can morph into feelings of bitterness or resentment toward your loved one. But the saying “Treat others how you would like to be treated” applies in this situation as well.  Think about how you would like to be cared for and try your best to understand your loved ones feelings and what they are going through.

 

 

Choosing The Right Long-Term-Care Facility For Your Loved One.

Sarah Jenkins

Choosing The Right Long-Term Care Facility

Making the decision to place a loved one in a long-term care facility can be difficult. Feelings of guilt and sadness are often present, despite how necessary the decision may be. But there are many situations where a long-term care facility can provide more help to a loved one than you can – and it doesn’t have to be as grim as many imagine it to be.  In fact, there are many wonderful facilities in the US that provide excellent care.  Be sure to visit the home, or have a trusted friend visit one if you are unable to, and keep this list of things to consider when reviewing your options. (Summarized list from The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Your Guide To Choosing a Nursing Home or Other Long-Term Care)

Things to Consider When Choosing A Care Facility

Quality of life.

  • Will my loved one be treated in a respectful way?
  • How will the nursing home help my loved one participate in social, recreational, religious, or cultural activities that are important to him/her?
  • Do the residents get to choose what time to get up, go to sleep, or bathe?
  • Can the residents have visitors at any time?  Can they bring pets?
  • Can residents decorate their living space any way they want?
  • What is privacy like?
  • Are the residents able to leave the premises?
  • What services are provided? Are they the services my loved one needs?
  • Can we get a copy of any resident policies that must be followed?

Quality of care.

  • What’s a plan of care, who makes it, and what does it look like?
  • Will my loved one and I be included in planning my care?
  • Who are the doctors who will care for my loved one? Can he/she still see their personal doctors?
  • If a resident has a problem with confusion and wanders, how does the staff handle this type of behavior?
  • Does the nursing home’s inspection report show quality of care problems?
  • How often are residents checked on and what is the average wait time if they need assistance?

Location & Availability.

  • Is the nursing home close to family and friends?
  • Is a bed available now, or can my loved one’s name be added to a waiting list?

Staffing.

  • Is there enough staff to give my loved one the care he/she needs?
  • Will my loved one have the same staff people take care of him/her day to day.
  • How many Certified Nursing Assistants are there and how many residents is a CNA assigned to work with during each shift and during meals? (Note: Nursing homes are required to post this information.)
  • What type of therapy is available at this facility?
  • Is there a social worker available? Can we meet him or her? (Note: Nursing homes must provide medically related social services, but if the nursing home has less than 120 beds, it doesn’t have to have a full-time social worker on staff.

Food & Dining.

  • Does the nursing home have food service that my loved one would be happy with and can they provide for special dietary needs? 
  • Does the nursing home provide a pleasant dining experience?
  • Does staff help residents eat and drink at mealtimes if needed?
  • Are there options and substitutes available if they don’t like a particular meal?

Language.

  • Is my loved one’s primary language spoken by staff that will work directly with them? If not, is an interpreter available to help them communicate their needs?

Security.

  • Does the nursing home provide a safe environment? Is it locked at night?
  • Will my loved one’s personal belongings be secure in their room?

Preventive Care.

  • Do residents get preventive care to help keep them healthy? Does the facility help make arrangements to see specialists? (Note: Nursing homes must either provide treatment, or help make appointments and provide transportation to see a specialist.)
  • Is there a screening program for vaccinations, like flu and pneumonia? (Note: Nursing homes are required to provide flu shots each year, but residents have the right to refuse if they don’t want the shot, have already been immunized during the immunization period, or if the shots are medically contraindicated.)

Hospitals.

  • Is there an arrangement with a nearby hospital for emergencies and can personal doctors care for my loved one at that hospital?

Licensing & Certification.

  • Is the nursing home and current administrator licensed in my loved one’s state?  (Have they met certain state or local government agency standards?)
  • Is the nursing home Medicare- and/or Medicaid-certified? (Note: “Certified” means the nursing home meets Medicare and/or Medicaid regulations and the nursing home has passed and continues to pass an inspection survey done by the State Survey Agency. If they’re certified, make sure they haven’t recently lost, or are about to lose their certification.

Charges & fees.

  • Will the nursing home tell me in writing about their services, charges, and fees before my loved one moves into the home? What is included and what is extra? (Note: Medicare- and/or Medicaid-certified nursing homes must tell you this information in writing.) 

To read the full guide, click here.

 

 

10 Tips To Control Bedwetting In Children And Adults

Sarah Jenkins

10 Tips To Control Bedwetting In Children and Adults

Bedwetting is a common issue among young children as well as incontinent adolescents and adults. There are many issues that bedwetting can cause, including embarrassment, discomfort and messes. In addition, bedwetting individuals are at risk of damaging their skin by lying in a wet or soiled bed throughout the night. Bedwetting is therefore an issue that must be dealt with properly, rather than accepting it as fact.

With the proper steps, bedwetting occurrences in both children and adult can become less frequent or even stop altogether. The following 10 tips offer effective ways to stay dry at night.

1.   Monitor fluid intake

Although it is important to stay hydrated throughout the day to avoid dehydration, which can irritate the bladder, try to limit fluid intake during the last few hours before bed. This will help ensure that the bladder isn’t working too hard during the night, which can lead to bedwetting.

2.   Cut back on caffeine.

Caffeine has been found to increase urine production rate, and it is therefore recommended to decrease intake of caffeinated products including coffee, tea, carbonated drinks, energy drinks and cocoa, especially close to bedtime.

3.   Use the bathroom before bed

Before going to bed, empty your bladder fully to help avoid nighttime accidents.

4.   Ensure easy access to the bathroom

For many bedwetting individuals, it may be a simple issue of getting to the bathroom in time. This problem is especially likely when dealing with young children, disabled or mature adults, as well as mentally impaired individuals.

The following are several tips to provide safer and easier access to toileting at night:

  • Clear the path between the bed and bathroom to avoid tripping or falling
  • Use night lights to help your loved one easily locate the bathroom
  • Install a raised toilet seat to make it easier for adults with mobility issues to use the bathroom independently
  • Provide a bedside commode, urinal or bedpan to give immediate access to bedridden adults or those with limited mobility

5.   Monitor bowel movements

Constipation can get in the way of effective bladder voiding, so monitor bowel movements to ensure that your loved one is not suffering unnecessarily. If constipation or irregularity is suspected, speak to your doctor about the best way to relieve this issue and thus help avoid nighttime overflows.

6.   Use a bedwetting alarm

Bedwetting alarms are an effective way of training incontinent children as well as adults who have primary enuresis (bedwetting since childhood).

Do not use bedwetting alarms for adults who wet their beds at night due to any of the following issues:

  •  Secondary enuresis caused by a disease or condition
  • Degenerative diseases
  • Inability to sense when the bladder is full
  • Physical difficulties getting to the bathroom

Bedwetting alarms sound on detection of urine during the night, which can successfully train adults and children to associate the sensation of a full bladder with getting up to use the bathroom. This method has been proven very effective if used consistently for several weeks.

7.   Wearable protection

Until your loved one is trained or cured of their bedwetting issues, you can help keep their skin and their beds comfortably dry throughout the night with wearable protection such as incontinence pads, youth or adult diapers and absorbent underwear, also known as pull-ups. Disposable incontinence products – especially those designed for overnight use – can contain a high amount of liquid and are easily disposed of when soiled.

8.   Bedding protection

When wearable protection isn’t sufficient for keeping the linen dry during the night, bed pads can go a long way to protect the part of the bed most likely to get wet or soiled. Purchase cost-efficient and environment-friendly reusable underpads or conveniently disposable bed chucks that offer reliable absorbency and waterproof backing to minimize clean-up after an accident.

9.   Mattress protection

Mattress covers and mattress pads won’t keep the bedding dry, but it will protect your mattresses from liquid damage and is an important step to consider if your loved one has bedwetting issues. These products are waterproof and usually easy to wash, and offer reliable protection that will allow for longer mattress life. Keep in mind that although thicker mattress pads do provide better comfort for the user, the thickness also means that washing and drying these pads will take longer.

10.   Speak to your doctor

Although bedwetting may be uncomfortable or even embarrassing to discuss, it is important to consult your doctor about your issue. This is crucial because a medical professional can help discover the underlying cause of bedwetting issues, which will make treatment easier and more effective.

Bedwetting can be difficult and frustrating for any caregiver, but it is important to remember the feelings of the incontinent individual as well. Always avoid teasing, blaming and punishing loved ones who suffer from bedwetting issues. Not only will this approach be ineffective, since the problem is out of the child or adult’s control; this may actually make the problem worse. Instead, focus on encouraging and supporting your loved one through this difficult time, and with the help of the above tips, you will be well on the way to dry, stress-free nights becoming the new normal.

About The Author: Hanna Landman lives in New Jersey with her husband and child. She works for AvaCare Medical, an online medical supply store servicing seniors and the homebound across the US. She specializes in adult incontinence solutions and writes for their blog on all topics related to incontinence, caregiving, senior living and more.

Bedwetting In Teens - Possible Causes And What To Do About It

Sarah Jenkins

Bedwetting In Teens - Causes and Solutions

Do you have a teen who is still wetting the bed? You’re not alone. Many teens struggle with nocturnal enuresis, a fancy term for nighttime bedwetting. And while it can be frustrating and emotionally draining for both you, and your teen, most of the time, they will grow out of it.

There are several reasons a teenager may be struggling with staying dry at night:

  • They have a small bladder.
  • They are deep sleepers.
  • They are constipated.
  • There is a family history of bedwetting.
  • They produce too much urine overnight
  • They are experiencing a stressful situation or a big change (new school, change in family dynamic, trouble with friends, etc.)

All of these things may contribute to a teens bedwetting problem.  So, what can you do to help them?  The first course of action is to contact a physician as soon as you can to help set up a treatment plan.  Be supportive of your teen and try not to make a big deal out of it – it’s very likely that your teen is already extremely embarrassed about wetting the bed. Talk with them about it, and show them how to clean themselves, and their bedding when they have an accident. You don’t want to encourage them to hide their problem, but constantly having to ask you for help may make them feel even more embarrassed.  Below is a list of several options to consider if your teenager is still wetting the bed.

Try a bedwetting alarm.

These alarms detect moisture and can alert a teen if they are starting to have an accident. Over time, this can help condition them to wake up and use the bathroom when they need to go.

Bladder retraining.

Just like other muscles in the body, the bladder can be trained to empty at specific times. Learn more about how to retrain your bladder here. 

Medications.

There are several medications that can help with bedwetting in teens and adults. Talk to your doctor to see if this may be a good option for your teen.

Limit fluids before bedtime.

Try to avoid drinking too much about an hour before bedtime, and always be sure to empty your bladder prior to going to bed.

Try the NAFC Dry Night Solution Kit.

Sometimes, the right protection can make all the difference. NAFC's Bedwetting kit allows you to try out several products at a very low price, making it a great way to find out what works for you. Learn more here.